LUMBERTON — When Adelio Cruz first came to Lumberton after many years in New York, it reminded him of home — El Salvador, in Central America.
“One weekend we took a ride to North Carolina and when I got to Lumberton, I kind of liked it,” Cruz said. “I like the small-town feel. It reminds me of home. Before I knew it, I was buying property and opening a restaurant.”
The first restaurant Cruz opened was The Kitchen. It was open for 10 years before Cruz decided to relocate.
Now Adelio’s Restaurant, which is joined to the Ramada Inn at 3608 Kahn Drive, has been in business for 14 years. The restaurant, which features country, gourmet Italian and International food, will celebrate its 14th anniversary on Tuesday.
“Without the customers, we couldn’t stay open,” Cruz said.
The restaurant, which is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner Mondays through Sundays, will offer a 10 percent discount to customers on Tuesday as a way of giving back.
Cruz, who said customers love the stuffed salmon with Adelio’s special sauce, learned to cook Italian dishes, which have been a local favorite, while in Long Island, N.Y. It doesn’t hurt that his wife, Christine Cruz, is Italian.
“She does a little bit of everything around here,” Cruz said.
To celebrate the occasion in true Italian style, there will also be a wine-tasting featuring white and red wines, as well as dessert wines.
The restaurant, which caters to businesses and hosts banquets and events, serves up lunch entrees like eggplant parmigiana and spaghetti and sandwiches for $7, as well as veal marsala for $9. For dinner, it offers items like New York Strip Fiorentina for $25 and chicken and seafood dishes that range in price from $15 to $27.
The restaurant features a full bar and live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 10 p.m.
Cruz said that his customers are a mix of travelers along Interstate 95 and locals.
But it’s the familiar faces that keep the meals coming.
“The locals have really been good to me,” he said.