Written by: Lauren Arant
A new Asian restaurant serving vegetarian cuisine recently opened at Four Corners with a variety of offerings for the greater Collegedale community and beyond.
The eatery, located at the Apison Crossing location where Frogurtland closed its doors in March, is run by a nonprofit organization started by the High Point Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church. The doors opened in September. Dennis Li, pastor of the High Point congregation, said the restaurant’s mission is “to mingle, to serve and to connect.” The name was chosen carefully — “High,” meaning standard, and “Su,” meaning vegetarian in Chinese, he added. The menu includes homemade multicultural Asian food — all vegetarian — with vegan options available.
Li said the restaurant aims to create an environment for Collegedale residents so they feel welcomed and loved as they connect with one another. The nonprofit also uses the restaurant as a ministry, welcoming everyone who walks through its doors, according to Li.
“After many weeks of prayer, we believed that it would be more effective for us to meet people where they are, just as Christ did,” he said.
Though he strives to bring people closer to God, Li said he understands the stereotypes of Christians and the hesitancy many people feel when it comes to joining a faith-based community.
“We go to where people are first,” Li said. “People need to eat; so let’s start a central influence in the community where we can serve people, provide a healthy diet, connect with people and give them some sort of confidence, and then they will be more open to share and to talk.”
High Su is still working on publicity since it only opened just over a month ago, according to Li. The restaurant will have a grand opening on Oct. 29. In the meantime, managers are still working on hiring a fully paid staff and developing a website online.
Li said the restaurant, currently staffed with volunteers, is already attracting many Southern Adventist University students as well as customers from downtown Chattanooga. The restaurant is getting great reviews, he added. It is still testing new dishes and finalizing the full menu.
“We want to welcome everyone and really serve the community with good food, good service and good people,” Li said.