Noble Fin in Peachtree Corners is a new seafood concept where fresh market fish dishes, like this halibut, offer a true coastal dining experience. Read more about Noble Fin and 24 hours of eating in Gwinnett.(Photo credit: Noble Fin)

Why I opened my restaurant in Gwinnett

Looking to get out of the city for a bite to eat? We asked seven Gwinnett-area chefs and managers what lured them outside the Perimeter. Here’s what they said:

<< Read the AJC Gwinnett Dining Guide

Jay Swift, chef/owner of Noble Fin in Peachtree Corners

There’re not too many places in Atlanta right now that aren’t saturated with restaurants. You have to go where the opportunities are, and the city of Atlanta is so saturated right now. But, the main reason we’re here is, it’s a great area. It’s a growing area, and they needed something like us. We say we’re trying to bring a little bit of the city to the suburbs, and in one sense we’re doing that, but more than anything we’re bringing the suburbs to our concept. We’re adapting. And, this community has been ridiculously welcoming.


Luis Fernandez, chef/owner of Mojitos in Norcross

What we like particularly about Norcross is you got city hall close by. The mayor’s right there, the city council’s right there; they live in the area, and they dine in the area; so, if you ever have any kind of city issue, just wait a couple days because you’ll see them in your building. It’s local. It’s face to face. It’s ‘how are you? How are the kids?’


Carla Shannon, co-owner of Three Blind Mice in Lilburn

Being in Lilburn, the main advantage is that we don’t have competition all around us. Plus, we live here. Our kids go to school here. This is where we live our lives. Our friends and customers, like us, like to go out and have a glass of wine or a cocktail and something to eat, and not feel like they have to jump in the car and drive 20 miles away from home.


Elias Collado, general manager of Umaido in Suwanee

The owner decided it was his plan about six years ago to come here because it’s a Japanese location. Here in Suwanee, there are lots of Asians, and that was his mindset — to open a restaurant for the Asian culture here to be able to enjoy. The Asian culture here is really big, and we’re close to the main highway, which means we also get lots of visitors from Atlanta.


Rico Cunnington, chef/owner of Rico’s World Kitchen in Buford

Gwinnett is a pretty easy area to open a business. People like the kind of food we cook, because it’s a diverse community. We get a little bit of everybody from the south and north. We get folks who like to be challenged with cuisine and know good food, but we don’t have the congestion of downtown Atlanta. Folks in the area are able to enjoy some of the amenities you would find in downtown Atlanta, but you don’t have to travel as far.


Rui Liu, chef/owner of Masterpiece in Duluth 

This is a Chinese restaurant, and I am a Chinese cook. If you open a Chinese restaurant, you want to have Chinese customers … a lot of Chinese people live here in this area, and there’s not too many living in downtown. We originally wanted (to locate near) Pleasant Hill but this was a good opportunity in Duluth. A lot of people travel Buford Highway looking for good food. Buford Highway is known for a lot of diversity in restaurants, and that was a major factor.


Beth Gray, co-owner of Cue Barbecue in Peachtree Corners

We feel like people will travel for good food, so you don’t have to be right in Atlanta to serve it. We also like to pay less rent. We picked the area mainly because it was the center of several cities like Johns Creek, Peachtree Corners and Berkeley Lake, and not too far from Dunwoody, so there’s a lot going on around there. We’re also on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, so there’s lots of visibility.


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