EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS: Umami sushi will be available locally

Aug. 11, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

Umami is coming back to Sanford, sort of.

The popular Japanese steak house and sushi restaurant was destroyed in the April 2011 tornado that obliterated much of South Side Plaza, where the restaurant was located. Head chef Roger Pelayo said Friday that there are no solid plans at the moment to re-open a restaurant in town, but he will be giving people another way to try his food.

Starting sometime next week — he said he needs one last permit, which should be granted as soon as Wednesday and no later than the weekend — several Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in the area will start selling his sushi.

“I’d like to let my loyal customers know they won’t have to drive to Burlington to get our sushi,” he said. Indeed, Pelayo said, the Piggly Wiggly stores in Sanford, Pittsboro and Siler City have all agreed to partner with him, and he’s working on finalizing a deal in Vass as well. And that’s not all — Pelayo said he’d love to expand to other grocery stores, such as Trader Joe’s, in other parts of the state.

But just because it’s available in a grocery store instead of a restaurant doesn’t mean the quality will be any different, he said: “We still carry the same standards we used to carry.”

In other news...

• Caterpillar to continue downsizing: Top officials at Caterpillar, whose Lee County plant is one of the largest employers in the area, announced last month that they would continue with worldwide reductions in force. It’s unclear how the local plant might be affected. Reuters reported in July: “Caterpillar Inc. reported a 43.5 percent drop in quarterly profit and cut its outlook for the year. ... The world’s largest maker of mining and construction equipment, which has reduced its worldwide workforce by 8 percent in the past year, said the cost-paring would continue in the second half. It did not give details.”

• Southern food, Jonesboro style: A new restaurant will be opening in a few weeks in downtown Jonesboro serving up soul food at lunch and dinner. Monifa’s Southern Food & Catering opens Sept. 6 at 116 E. Main St., and more information about the restaurant, possible grand opening events and more will be featured in this column a little closer to that date. Stay tuned.

• Habitat for Humanity expanding: The Chatham County branch of Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for low-income families, is opening up a new office in Siler City, at 134 N. Chatham Ave. There will be a ribbon cutting at the new location at 11 a.m. Thursday, sponsored by the Chatham County Chamber of Commerce. An open house will last until 1 p.m. People can drop off donations for its Re-Store stores at the new office as well as pick up applications and other paperwork. Hours of operation will by 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

• Business fluctuations: In the last week, four new corporations formed in Lee County — Elite Storage, E.W. Wiley, To The Max and Silver Core — and none were dissolved or withdrawn.

Have business news? Contact Will Doran at 919-718-1217 or wdoran@sanfordherald.com.