Calamansi Cafe holds its grand opening Saturday at The Mill at Crown Garden.
But owners Lanny and Angie Adams have already developed quite a following in Dalton.
"I've always enjoyed cooking and sharing my Filipino culture with others, and my family and friends have always told me 'You ought to open a restaurant,'" she said. "I started with catering and with doing pop ups (temporary, unannounced events) in Chattanooga. We moved here a few years ago, and I started introducing my baked goods at the Downtown Dalton Farmers Market on Saturdays, and everyone just loved them."
Angie Adams describes her food as "Filipino American fusion."
"I was born in the Philippines. I am a full-blooded Filipina," she said. "But I have lived in the United States since I was 8, and my cooking combines my Filipino roots with my American life."
The calmansi is a citrus-type fruit native to the Philippines and some surrounding areas that is used widely in Filipino cuisine. She said that Filipino cooking emphasizes fresh ingredients that can be easily found in the country's many islands.
"We use coconut milk. Beef is not very big in the Philippines. But we use fish, chicken, pork, rice" she said. "We are over 7,500 islands, and we have had so many other cultures and influences come in over the years. We are not just Filipino. We are Malaysian, Indonesia, Indian, Chinese. We are even a little bit Spanish, French and American."
Harper Carnes, project manager for The Mill, said she knew of Angie Adams' reputation and was excited when Angie and Lanny approached her.
"Our vision of The Mill is to bring unique things to Dalton, and her vision matched our vision," Carnes said. "This really expands the variety of cuisines available in Dalton."
While the Calamansi Cafe's grand opening isn't until Saturday, it started a "soft," unadvertised opening on Tuesday, and the fans the couple have developed over the years have flocked to the restaurant.
"It has been amazing," said Lanny Adams. "We've had people following us on social media from Chattanooga, Atlanta, Knoxville. There's noting like this for probably 100 miles around us."
Angie Adams says that the adobo bowl is one of the restaurant's specialties and something she would recommend to someone who has not tried Filipino food.
"It's a staple. It's our version of a stew, with soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves and coconut milk," she said. "It's slow cooked and and all the flavors melt together."
Lanny Adams says adobo reminds him of "my mother's pot roast, with the meat cooked together will all of the other ingredients."
A bowl contains adobo and sautéd baby bok choy on rice topped with cucumber dill salad
Dalton's Jake Thompson was trying out an adobo bowl Thursday.
"This is very good," he said. "Some of my friends were talking about this place on Facebook. I saw it was open and thought that I would try it out."
During Saturday's grand opening, the Adams say Dalton favorite John Buckner will be playing live music starting at 11 a.m.
"At 2, we will have Filipino dancers in authentic costumes come in and do little dances," Angie Adams said.
"There will also be a a disc jockey and karaoke from 4 to 8," Angie Adams said. "No Filipino party is complete unless you have karaoke. Filipinos love to sing."
Calamansi Cafe is located in The Mill at Crown Garden, 825 Chattanooga Ave., Dalton.
It is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Its website is www.mansicafe.com, and it can also be found on Facebook.