2011-06-20 / Local News

Blacksburg man opening Japanese restaurant here

By LARRY HILLIARD Ledger Staff Writer larry@gaffneyledger.com

Lee Whiteside plans to open his Fuji Expresshuns, a Japanese restaurant, early next month. Lee Whiteside plans to open his Fuji Expresshuns, a Japanese restaurant, early next month. Lee Whiteside has a strategy to lure Gaffney restaurant-goers: Offer healthy, quick and affordable meals with a Far East flair.

Whiteside has signed a lease-purchase agreement with Satillia Investments of Macon, Ga., on the former Long John Silvers restaurant site on the frontage road near the Interstate 85 Exit 92 interchange. The building has been vacant about 18 months.

His Fuji Expresshuns Japanese restaurant is expected to open in early July. The menu, prepared by three chefs with more than 35 years of experience, will feature steak, chicken, shrimp and sushi. The restaurant will offer lunch and dinner menus.

“It will be a full-service Japanese restaurant,” Whiteside said.

Fuji Expresshuns is expected to seat up to 110 customers.

Whiteside, a Blacksburg resident whose wife, Melissa, is a Gaffney native, has worn many hats. He has managed restaurants in the past, owns Lee Whiteside Trucking and owns and operates Palmetto Shaved Ice.

“I’ve been working on this idea for nine months,” Whiteside said.

Whiteside plans a few touch-ups for the outside of the building and is in the midst of renovating the interior. The kitchen equipment is expected to arrive this week.

The restaurant location, close to but not on busy Floyd Baker Boulevard, is a plus, Whiteside said.

“You can get in and out of here faster than the congested areas,” he said. “I just think it’s a good location right off the interstate.”

The restaurant will employ between 20 to 30 workers.

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