Paragon opens sushi bar

Residents near Rockford’s downtown have a new and unique culinary option in their area. Paragon On State opened a sushi bar inside its restaurant on March 2.

Mary Olson, owner of Paragon, said the new cuisine was added after hiring head sushi chef Marc Rapp. She also hopes people near downtown will take advantage of the restaurant’s convenient location (205 W. State St.). It is within walking distance of the MetroCentre, Davis Park, Coronado Theatre, New American Theater and a number of other attractions. It is also the only place on Rockford’s west side that sells sushi.

For those who may not be familiar with the term, sushi is raw fish, a Japanese delicacy. It can be prepared in many fashions, but typical sushi consists of a seaweed wrap filled with a layer of rice and raw fish in the center.

Olson said Paragon’s service differs from other sushi establishments in a variety of ways, one being that diners eat at individual tables instead of being seated at a large table with several people. She believes it is important to maintain an intimate atmosphere for patrons to enjoy.

Devon LaRosa, Paragon’s marketing manager, also considers the sushi bar to be a welcome addition to the restaurant. “It’s an infusion of culture in the downtown area,” he said. LaRosa thinks it will increase the restaurant’s overall appeal and entice new patrons. He also promised to offer “lower prices and a better product.”

Paragon means “excellence” in Greek, and the establishment’s employees are continually striving to ensure it lives up to its name. Olson wants to bring local customers opportunities that are available to residents in larger cities. “You can find a sushi bar on every corner in Chicago,” she explained.

Aside from sushi, Paragon also serves other seafood selections, steak, salads, sandwiches and vegetarian dishes. The restaurant is open for lunch at 11:30 a.m., Tuesday to Friday, dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, and offers a late night menu after 9 p.m. It is closed Sunday and Monday. For reservations, call 963-1660.

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