In the space where Lee’s Golden Buddha once served Forsyth County residents for years, construction is now underway on a new Asian-fusion restaurant that owners say they hope will become the next food sensation in the local community.
According to Brandon Lin, the proprietor of Tokyo Steak and Sushi Asian Fusion which will soon open at 170 Tri County Plaza in Cumming, the restaurant will offer residents a huge variety of Asian dishes, from sushi and hibachi to Japanese ramen and Vietnamese pho, in a fun family-friendly setting.
"We want to bring an authentic Japanese feel to the community," Lin said. "Being an Asian fusion [restaurant], we're going to have a little bit of everything.”
Being just a few yards away from established culinary heavy hitters like Los Rios Mexican Restaurant and Marie’s Italian Deli, the new food spot on the block will have a lot to prove, but according to Lin and his head chef Sergio Hernandez, they aren’t worried – their food and service will speak for itself, they said.
"I think that when it comes down to it it's really about being fresh – fresh fish, fresh meat, that's really what distinguishes you,” Hernandez said.
Though the finishing touches on the restaurant are still in progress, Lin said that they are already fielding a slew of interested messages and inquiries from members of the community.
He said that if all goes well, they’d want to expand Tokyo into the next space over, which is currently jam-packed with elaborate fixtures and accent pieces from when the space was owned by Lee's Golden Buddha.
"We want to knock this wall down and make it more of a traditional Japanese restaurant; we may put a hibachi table in ... that's the goal we are trying to get to," he said.
Lin was a longtime Georgia law enforcement officer and former school resource officer at Riverwatch Middle School and Settle’s Bridge and Johns Creek elementary schools. Lin’s brother, Sake, opened the first Tokyo Steak and Sushi restaurant in 1996. This location will be the third, but Lin said that they are also already considering opening two more Tokyo locations in Forsyth and Dawson counties.
"We are planning to make it a known chain in Georgia, so we're going to just keep going from there,” he said.
In keeping with the city of Cumming’s recent efforts to improve the culture and nightlife of the city, Lin said that as soon as the business’s liquor licenses clear, they’ll keep the place open late on Friday and Saturday nights as a bar, with karaoke and signature cocktails.
"There's a story behind every drink," Lin said with a laugh, pointing to a drink list with names like ‘Timmy the Turtle’ and ‘Crazy Old Lady.’
Beyond the draw of seemingly being the first restaurant in Forsyth County to serve oho, Korean barbecue, sushi and every other imaginable Asian food style under one roof, Lin said that they are determined to become a part of the community by sponsoring local teams or events and giving people help when they need it.
"The money is going to be put right back into Forsyth County, into the schools and helping [the] less fortunate," he said. “I love my community. I've served it so long, and now I want to serve it a different way than getting up every day and strapping on a badge."If all goes well, Lin said they expect to open for business July 22.