MOORESVILLE – TK Sushi sits tucked behind the animal hospital off Brawley School Road.

The space has housed several different restaurants, including an Irish pub, American grill and Asian restaurant. But at present, TK Sushi is hopping, serving the hungry patrons with authentic Asian fare.

“We work really hard to create a great experience for the customer,” Owner Manh Tang said, as he contentedly surveys the restaurant.

Tang had a long road to freedom – through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand until landing in the United States as a refugee in 1988. He didn’t have a penny to his name; and although the government would have paid him not to work, he did not want to sit idle.

So he started work in a factory and learned English along the way.

Tang eventually worked at several Asian restaurants. Then 11 years ago, he opened up his own Tokyo Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse in Mooresville.

About six months ago, Tang received a phone call that another restaurant in Mooresville was about to become available. He looked at the space and decided to open up a second, smaller restaurant, TK Sushi, named after his two daughters, Tammy and Krista.

TK Sushi has bucked the trend of failing restaurants in the space with Tang’s excellent business sense, wonderful food and inexpensive pricing.

TK Sushi is immaculate with persimmon walls and black Asian accents. The dining room has low tables with comfortable chairs, and the bar area has tall glossy black tables with high-backed chairs.

In the dining area, a $6.99 lunch buffet runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. This buffet shines as if it was brand new, and the fare ranges from a full salad bar to sweet and sour chicken to noodle dishes.

Or pay $8.99 and get the buffet plus the all-you-can-eat sushi that is freshly made after the customer orders. This means it is not sitting on the buffet.

“It’s a great value,” Tang said. “Many rolls cost $8.99 for just one. Here you get the entire buffet plus all the sushi you can eat!”

The vast menu is full of Asian favorites such as Pho Bowls, which are amazingly aromatic and served steaming hot. There are also hibachi dishes, which are made in the kitchen and brought to the table; Chinese dishes with chicken, shrimp, steak and scallop; kabobs; and soba noodle dishes. The bubble tea is an Asian specialty akin to a smoothie and served as a dessert. And don’t miss the coffee made with chicory that slowly drips into the cup creating a rich, strong brew.

TK Sushi, of course, makes the sushi in-house after the customer orders, but many other items are homemade, as well. Kitchen staff makes all the egg rolls, spring rolls, sauces and the famous shrimp sauce that is beloved by the customers.

“People say the shrimp sauce is good they could drink it,” Tang said, smiling.

The atmosphere at TK Sushi is that of a neighborhood restaurant. The customers easily chat with their servers in a comfortable, casual way.

Bill O’Connell, of Mooresville, eats the lunch buffet with his wife and loves coming to the restaurant.

“It is very good food at a very good price,” O’Connell said. “Plus, it is so clean and the waitresses are so helpful and nice.”

Another customer can’t help but chime in.

“The people are so nice here and the food is just amazing!” enthuses regular customer Melinda New, of Mooresville. “We come here often for the lunch buffet and sushi.”

Tang is busy between the two restaurants, but he happy to provide excellent service, food and value for the people of Mooresville.

“I think that as more people find out we are here, they will come and try us,” he said. And once they try it, customers are sure to come back.

Want to go? TK Sushi, 694 Brawley School Road, Mooresville, 704-664-1020.