When folks heard of Forsyth County several years ago, thoughts of protests, Lake Lanier, and a sleepy community in north Georgia came to mind. In 1995, a restaurant opened in Forsyth County that soon became a landmark. Norman’s Landing, located on Peachtree Parkway, became the go-to place for folks traveling through Forsyth County.
Bill Norman remembers the naysayers who told him opening a restaurant in Forsyth County was a bad idea. In true Bill fashion, he didn’t listen. And we are so glad he didn’t.
The recent announcement that Bill’s beloved restaurant would be closing its doors made many folks sad as they recalled all that Norman’s Landing meant to them. Over the span of 22 years, the log cabin that housed the restaurant had seen many changes in the county, but most importantly had become part of the fabric of a community.
Let us Spoil You has been more than just a slogan for Norman’s Landing – it’s been a way of life. Bill and his staff have spoiled over three million folks since the restaurant opened its doors, with fresh seafood, cornbread and rolls, prime rib and oysters, and a family-friendly environment that will now live only in our minds.
I met Bill over 12 years ago when I was asked to write a review about the restaurant for a publication based in Roswell. Over the years, I learned more about Bill, his restaurant, and the county. He encouraged me to be more than a businesswoman and to give back in every way I could to the community that welcomed me. He became a mentor, a trusted friend, and a confidant. Bill always treated me with respect and care, as if taking care of a younger sister.
Bill’s giving ways spanned the test of time – when economic changes made it hard for non-profit organizations to raise much-needed funds to fulfill their missions, Bill stepped up and helped. Countless golf and ping-pong tournaments, spaghetti-a-thons and poker run events raised money for important organizations including United Way of Forsyth County and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Baseball teams, dance companies, scouts, schools, and a host of other groups and individuals reaped the benefits of Bill’s giving ways. To date, over $2.3 million was raised at Norman’s Landing to benefit a countless number of organizations and individuals.
When the land where The Collection currently sits was developed, many thought it would be the end of Norman’s Landing.
“I figured it would just bring more people to the area so I welcomed the new restaurants to the neighborhood,” Bill said with his usual sneaky smile.
A sad and reflective Bill recently announced the closing of Norman’s Landing, a decision that was not easy for him to make. Yet we all know it was made carefully and with the utmost respect for those he has served for so long.
“How’s life treating you?” Bill would welcome his guests and friends to the restaurant with those words. I wonder how many of us stopped to ask him that same question.
As Bill begins his new-found freedom at the age of 63, I know I am joined by many who wish him and his family a wonderful future and look forward to seeing him around town.
Until our paths cross again, farewell!