CEDAR CITY — The Festival City saw the opening of several new locally owned restaurants at the start of summer, and the community appears to be offering its support throughout potential COVID-19 concerns.
‘Everybody was coming out and showing their support’
Scott Johnson and his father, David, opened The Notorious D.O.G. House, located at 1150 N. Main St., and sold completely out of hot dogs on their first day: May 24.
“It was so unexpected,” Scott Johnson told Cedar City News. “We didn’t even have time to turn our ‘Open’ sign on. We ended up selling out that day and had to close Memorial Day.”
Johnson said after getting restocked, the community has continued to keep them busy.
“Everybody was coming out and showing their support,” he said. “Cedar has been absolutely fantastic in that respect of checking for local businesses first.”
Johnson said they wanted to try and fill a niche in Cedar City with their restaurant.
“There’s two food items that everywhere has, they just have their own twist on it: hot dogs and hamburgers,” he said. “So we landed on hot dogs because we have more than enough hamburger joints in town.”
The Notorious D.O.G. House features several specialty hot dogs that are inspired by food commonly found in various places throughout the country.
“When we used to travel, it was hot dogs and hamburgers everywhere,” he said. “So we thought, ‘Why not bring them all to one place?’ That way you can eat the best of each region.”
Johnson said he hopes to provide quality food for an affordable price, particularly for college students.
“Cupid’s Hot Dogs got me through college,” Johnson said, referring to the family-owned restaurant that opened in Southern California in the 1940s. “I wanted to continue that, making sure we’re giving decent food, good value, and not taking advantage of people.”
Johnson said the name for the restaurant was inspired by rapper and songwriter Biggie Smalls, who also went by the Notorious B.I.G., but in this case, the name of the restaurant stands for Notorious “Dogs of Greatness.”
The Notorious D.O.G. House is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
‘We do the traditional recipes of Chinese food’
On May 15, Mandarin opened in the Depot building at 241 N. Main St. to offer authentic, traditional Chinese food for Cedar City.
Manager Kong Wang told Cedar City News things have slowed down some since opening, but the restaurant is still doing well.
“Everybody was coming and trying the food in the beginning,” Wang said. “Everything’s slowing down a little, but we’re hanging on.”
Wang said he wanted to open Mandarin after a friend mentioned Cedar City lacked traditional Chinese food.
“He told me that Cedar City needed a good traditional Chinese restaurant,” Wang said. “So I came here and took a look at it and decided, ‘This is a good place. Let’s open one.’”
Wang said he moved to Cedar City from Orlando, Florida, to open Mandarin, which features traditional Chinese recipes that he learned from his parents.
“They moved here (to the United States) in 1985, and ever since then they’ve been in the Chinese restaurant business.”
Wang followed his parents to the United States in 1996 to go to school and learn about Chinese recipes and restaurants from them.
Wang said he hopes to be more involved in the community and wants to learn about needs he might be able to fill through his restaurant.
Mandarin is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9:30 p.m.
‘We’re definitely grateful for the customers’
Silver Silo Bakery and Espresso joined the Cedar City restaurant community on May 1 and focuses on providing wholesome, home-cooked foods with no preservatives.
Co-managers Virginia Harker and Lenora Fischer told Cedar City News the restaurant is family-owned and operated and came to fruition when family members left farming to start a steel erection company.
“They went out on jobs around the nation, doing steel erection, and they really enjoyed the wholesome meals you could get at home,” Fischer said. “Out on jobs around the nation, you can’t really just find that fresh food all the time.”
Silver Silo Bakery and Espresso was built to resemble silos and barns as a tribute to farming and the high-quality food that inspired the restaurant.
“We’re a family from Beryl, born and raised with barns and silos and farming,” Harker said, “so they thought, ‘Let’s just place a theme on that.'”
Fischer said all the items offered by Silver Silo are made daily with fresh ingredients.
“All of our bakery items are cooked in house with fresh ground whole wheat flour,” she said. “There’s not any preservatives in the food.”
Harker said launching the restaurant was challenging due to COVID-19, but she is still seeing new faces a few months after opening.
“Anybody that values a place with no preservatives, fresh-cooked, homemade whole wheat has been really impressed,” Harker said. “We’re seeing word take a long time to make its way around, because we’re always seeing new customers, but then we’re also seeing the ones that stick with us.”
Harker said she is grateful for the customers that continue to support Silver Silo.
“We’re definitely grateful for the customers that come and make it happen,” Harker said. “It’s a little more out of the way; it mostly brings the people that really want it.”
Silver Silo Bakery and Espresso is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., located at 777 South Cross Hollow Road in Cedar City.
‘Hopefully this will be a good culture mix’
The Asian Bistro is another restaurant that opened May 1, but owner Sam Lo told Cedar City News the original opening was supposed to be in March – plans that were pushed back by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Asian Bistro offers cuisine from China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Lo said the variety of foods is inspired by Malaysia.
“I’m from Malaysia, and Malaysia has all this variety, so I wanted to do something like that in Cedar City,” he said.
Lo said business has slowed since the grand opening of Asian Bistro, but the restaurant is still doing well.
“The townspeople have been really supportive,” he said. “People look at the number of (coronavirus) cases, and people get worried and concerned, but we do everything we can. All the employees wear masks, we have hand sanitizer, we have social distancing.”
While Asian Bistro just opened their doors in May, this isn’t Lo’s first foray into the restaurant business. He also owns the popular Mountain Bistro in Parowan, and he said he wanted to do something similar in Cedar City. He added that he hopes the Asian Bistro will be a good place for families to dine out and for Southern Utah University students to mingle when they return to Cedar City in the fall.
“Hopefully this will be a good culture mix and exchange and hang out place,” Lo said.
Asian Bistro is located at 1380 South Providence Center, Suite A in Cedar City. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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