The regional Asian restaurant, which opened four weeks ago, serves dinner from Monday to Saturday with a bar that is open until 2 am.
Lunch is not served.
Lantern is the brainchild of owners and siblings Andrea and Brendan Reusing and the duo's friend, Silvia Pahola.
The restaurant's paper lantern-themed decor was designed by UNC alumnus Dave Doernberg, a television and film set designer.
Andrea Reusing said Doernberg played a key role in the restaurant's design.
"He helped me with the whole concept," she said. "He was the conceptualizer."
Andrea Reusing said that when the restaurant was conceived, she wanted it to have a main dining room and a more casual setting at the bar.
Construction on the restaurant, which is located in the building that used to be occupied by the Indian restaurant Darbar, began the weekend after Sept. 11 despite a nationwide economic slowdown.
Robert Humphreys, executive director of the Downtown Commission, said he believed Darbar might have left the area because of the tough economic climate.
"Darbar had been pretty successful," Humphreys said. "I think it just decided to do something else. Business was slow."
Humphreys said Leo's Restaurant, a Greek restaurant, had been there for about 35 years before Darbar made the location home.
Andrea Reusing said she believes Lantern will survive amid the many restaurants on Franklin Street because it provides a unique type of cuisine.
"We're the only one doing the kind of food we're doing," he said. "It ranges from Chinatown classics to Vietnamese dishes."
Patrick Ruppe, a junior journalism major, visited the restaurant last weekend after he heard about it from his boss at Frazier's, a restaurant in Raleigh.
"The food was excellent," Ruppe said. "In Raleigh, people are talking about this place."
Andrea Reusing said she thinks her restaurant is doing fine despite the slowed economy.
"We're in the typical honeymoon period, which hasn't been affected," she said.
"We're right where we want to be."
The City Editor can be reached at email@example.com.
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