Rome restaurateur Eddie Yap is the perfect example of an immigrant coming to the United States to make their dreams come true. Yap, however, wasn’t even dreaming that he’d one day own multiple restaurants when he moved from Malaysia to the United States at 19.
His sister had already moved to the U.S. “She kind of brought me here because the living environment was more than my country,” Yap said. He started out washing dishes at a restaurant in Chinatown in New York City. At that time, I thought I would just make some money and go home and start my business in Malaysia,” Yap said. He was 22 when he and his sister opened their first restaurant in New York City on Columbus Avenue. “It was a good experience for me to learn how to do business,” Yap said. They owned it for about a year before selling it to start a series of successful start-ups and sales.
Yap met his future wife, a student at Georgia State University, and, like most good husbands, opted to move to Georgia rather than try to carry her to Massachusetts, where he lived.
Even before settling in Rome, Yap owned restaurants in Ellijay and Canton. Along with his wife, Yap did their homework and learned that Rome had a strong population of professionals, particularly physicians, and a number of industries in the Greater Rome community. So he felt it would be a good place to open a new restaurant.
Blue Fin Sushi and Grill, 727 Turner McCall Boulevard, was founded in 2008 during the heat of the recession. Yap said “Blue Fin had a tough start, but he hung in at every step of the way. “Our customers have become very solid, very regular,” Yap said. Several of his employees have hung in there as well; several have been with him through the recession and, more recently, the pandemic.
“We have multiple cuisines from Thai to Chinese along with hibachi and sushi,” Yap said. “We cover most of the famous (Asian) fishes that people like.” The restaurant features three distinct menus for lunch, dinner, and a specialty menu for sushi items.
The sushi menu features favorites like the Alaskan Roll with a crab stick, smoked salmon, cream cheese, and tempura crunch topped with fresh salmon. The Caterpillar Roll has barbecued eel and cucumber topped with avocado slices. The Dynamite Roll includes salmon and crab, asparagus fried in tempura batter with eel, and a special savory sauce.
Dinner favorites include Mongolian Beef, which is stir-fried with scallions and onions, and Sesame Chicken, which is deep-fried and served with steamed broccoli. Soft Shell Crab in Sweet Lime Green Curry is among the Chef’s Selection entrees. The crab is deep fried with assorted vegetables and basil leaves in the sweet lime green curry, which offers a distinctive taste. The Panang curry salmon is another Chef’s favorite featuring pan-seared salmon with onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers in a Panang curry.
In addition to Blue Fin in Rome, Yap has several other restaurants and spends a lot of time on the road between the businesses. He has a shop in Dalton and Okinawa restaurants in Cartersville, Austell, and Marietta.
“All told, I think I have opened up about 15 restaurants,” said Yap.
When he’s not overseeing operations at one of the shops, Yap has become a pickleball aficionado and travels a lot to play in his spare time.
For more information visit bluefinrome.com.