MOORESVILLE – Van Ellis put himself through school in the restaurant business and has never fully left it.
The vast majority of his career was spent working in the food division of Marriott Corporation.
In 2005, he left corporate America to start a restaurant in Creedmoor, which is outside of Raleigh. The restaurant was a huge success, but love came into the picture and Ellis decided to sell it and move closer to his now fiancé, Sally Williams.
“My sister had introduced us, and we dated long distance for eight years,” Ellis said. “Now she is co-owner of the new Vantastic’s, and we get to see each other all the time.”
Vantastic’s is a little tucked away. The space used to occupy the Black-Eye’d Pea restaurant, but Ellis has changed the look and feel of the restaurant.
Walking in is like visiting a tropical isle complete with a huge beach mural of palm trees in repose of the setting sun. Colorful parrots abound and low, brick walls give a feeling of openness to the beach theme.
There is free Wi-Fi and an outdoor patio for al fresco dining, as well.
Ellis is almost always at the restaurant greeting the customers and putting everyone at ease.
The restaurant may be out of the way, but the food and value pricing make it worth the trip. The concept is affordable, good quality food at a low cost.
“It’s what I learned at Marriott,” Ellis said. “It is thoroughly ingrained in how I do business.”
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner with breakfast served on Saturday and Sundays. There is an excellent kid’s menu with many favorites. In fact, kids eat free Monday through Thursday.
The food at Vantastic’s is classic Southern diner fare with entrées, as well. But this is some higher-end diner food, such as the ultimate grilled cheese, which is sautéed onions, mushrooms, banana peppers, tomatoes and cheese.
Or the Reuben stacked high with fresh, lean corned beef and grilled to crispy perfection.
Don’t miss the fried banana peppers which have vinegary bite tempered with a greaseless crunch.
Vantastic’s serves homemade entrée specials, such as prime rib, baby back ribs, grilled fish and ribeye.
All of the desserts are made from scratch by a pastry chef. There is chocolate lava cake, coconut cake and key lime pie.
The restaurant also serves beer and wine. It offers domestic beers plus New Castle and Fat Tire and good house selections of Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio.
Ellis is also happy to cater parties in the restaurant and off-site.
They are working hard to become part of the community by working with churches and offering discounts to public safety workers.
Ellis would rather keep his prices low and see customers more often.
“Listen, some of my customers don’t have much to spend on eating out at restaurants,” he said. “So I’d rather keep items at an inexpensive price point and have people able to come on in more often.”
Vantastic’s is the place to get a great meal at a low price. So take in the beach scenery and relax awhile. Ellis and company are sure to treat to you well and feed you right.
Want to go? Vantastic's All Day Cafe and Grill 427 E. Statesville Ave., Mooresville, 704-799-8720.