FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — After being one of the first restaurants to call Forsyth County home right before its population exploded, Norman’s Landing will soon be shutting its doors and selling the property.
Bill Norman announced March 13 that after 22 years the longstanding seafood restaurant at 365 Peachtree Parkway will be closing June 18.
However, debt and maintenance issues are driving him to shutter the doors.
“It would take $400,000 to get this restaurant back in the right direction,” Norman said. “I’m talking about new floors and tile. I can’t take another payment book. I owe friends, family, banks and everybody. I have to get them off me so I can sleep at night.”
He said he has “signed papers” for the property and it’s a great deal, but he wouldn’t say to who, for what and how much.
“This place has always been on fire and will continue,” Norman said. “It’s been a great ride. I was planning on leaving it open another 3-4 years, but I’ll be 64-years-old this year. The restaurant business is not an easy business. That’s why there’s a 90 percent failure rate.”
With the motto, “let us spoil you,” Norman and his staff have proudly served over 3 million customers.
“I need to go forward,” Norman said. “I probably won’t call this my retirement as I’ll probably open up a barbeque dump in six months or a year. There just ain’t no telling. I love spoiling people.”
Now the entrepreneur said he’s on an emotional rollercoaster regarding the bittersweet closing.
“I don’t know what to feel,” Norman said. “It’s going to be like this for 100 days.”
Norman’s restaurant career started nearly 50 years ago when he helped found Longhorn Steakhouse. He eventually set out to fulfill his dream of building a restaurant on Lake Lanier and opened Norman’s Landing in 1995.
“My parents had a house at Lake Lanier so we drove by this property all the time,” Norman said. “I thought, since this is at the end of Peachtree and Ga. 400, it’ll be a great location. People told me I was crazy and this was out in the middle of nowhere. I’ve heard that my whole life. But I said we’re building it, we’re going to do it for the community.”
Along with providing his menu comprised of mostly seafood, he has made a name in the community as someone who loves to give back.
“The reason I built this restaurant is to have the best food in Forsyth County and to raise money in this community,” Norman said. “I left Longhorn and had a bunch of money and thought, ‘I’ll do something for the community.’ We will end up raising $2.3 million for this community in 22 years. Hopefully we’ve been the best restaurant in Forsyth County in 22 years. That was the goal. We take pride in what we do.”