Difficult economic times haven't stopped restaurateurs from bringing new food choices to the Augusta-Aiken area. Several owners said they were trying to bring more diverse options.
Since Antonio's Italian Eatery opened at 336 Georgia Ave. in North Augusta in February, sales have been strong and growing, manager Tom Langley said.
It is a venture by Frank and Donna Gentile, the former owners of Casa di Pizza. The staff of the pizzeria has received positive feedback, Langley said.
"The building was here. All the pieces of the puzzle were there. They decided not to pass up the opportunity," Langley said.
Fusion Cuisine owner Swapna Sharma noticed a void in the local restaurant industry and wanted to bring the fusion concept to Augusta. In her native New York, Sharma was accustomed to having foods from various cultures under one roof, she said.
"The fusion concept is not here at all in Augusta. Ours is the first one," Sharma said.
The restaurant at 2910 Washington Road has a 30-item lunch buffet that features Chinese, American, Indian and Pakistani food.
Soy Noodle House opened March 29 at 1032 Broad St., the former site of T-Boy's Po-Boys. Owners Mia and Sae Shin, who are Korean, wanted to bring some of their favorite foods to downtown. Soy Noodle House serves foods from China, Japan, Thailand, Korea and Vietnam.
"We eat this food all the time, and there wasn't a place downtown that offered it," Sae Shin said.
Mi Rancho Mexican Restaurant opened its ninth location at 2 Eighth St. last week. The owners closed their location in St. George, S.C., and moved downtown to fill a void in the marketplace, co-owner Teodosio Estrada said.
Two replacement restaurants are coming to west Augusta: Pickle's, opening at the site of an old Raisin Cane's on Furys Ferry Road, and Carolina Ale House, which is moving into the former Tony Roma's in Augusta Exchange.