Forbidden City eatery opening near mall

Forbidden City eatery opening near mall

June 11th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Jason Pan, manager at Forbidden City, stands near the entrance of the new restaurant soon to open near Hamilton Place mall. The restaurant will seat 288 patrons upon opening, according to Pan.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

While the East Brainerd area already is a highly competitive restaurant destination, operators of a new eatery believe there's still room for more because of added businesses nearby.

"It's a strong, growing area," said Jason Pan, general manager of the Forbidden City restaurant off Gunbarrel Road near Hamilton Place mall, citing the opening of the nearby Volkswagen plant and planned Amazon distribution center.

With the end of recession and the emergence of VW and Amazon, thousands of new workers are converging on Enterprise South industrial park just one exit north on Interstate 75 from Shallowford Road.

"I think it's a great opportunity," Pan said about the new business development. "It's really going to grow."

The restaurant, at 2273 Gunbarrel, will have a buffet and hibachi grill and serve Asian food, including Chinese, Japanese and Thai, he said. It will offer some American fare as well, Pan said.

Construction workers have been renovating the 10,000-square-foot restaurant location, which formerly held a furniture retailer.

"This will be one of the landmarks of Gunbarrel," Pan said about the eatery that he hopes will open in a few weeks. "It will be completely remodeled inside and out."

When open, the eatery will hold 288 diners, offering a full bar, he said.

Plans are to employ from 30 to 50 workers, and 95 percent will be local, according to Pan.

He said the staff will be "Chinese a little bit, but not much."

First-year revenues are expected to come in at between $200,000 and $240,000, Pan said.

While East Brainerd already is heavily commercialized with Hamilton Place mall and nearby shopping centers, more retailers are on the way.

CarMax, one of the nation's largest used car retailers, soon will start work on a $15 million to $25 million superstore off Shallowford Road.

"We like this location," said Elia Imler, a spokeswoman for company about the site that formerly held the Overnite truck terminal at Shallowford Road and Interstate 75. "It has real good visibility."

The opening for the superstore, which will have a 36,000-squarefoot showroom, should be late this year or early 2012, she said.