Atlantis ShrimpHouse owners Norvel “Dvonn” Smith, left, and Whitney Eichelberger in their Maywood seafood restaurant. The owners recently celebrated their first year in business in the village. | David Pollard/Village Free Press
Sunday, June 12, 2016 || By David Pollard || UPDATED: 6/28/16
When it comes to seafood, especially shrimp, Whitney Eichelberger cuts no corner when preparing it and believes that’s one of the reasons the doors of his business has remained open.
In May, Atlantis Shrimp House, 713 S. Fifth Ave., in Maywood, celebrated its’ one-year anniversary. Eichelberger, 38, says good food and good customer service is probably the reason the business he co-owns has passed the “first year” test of a business.
Barbara Wilson, 53, of Maywood agrees, adding that she now doesn’t have to travel far to get some good seafood like she used to.
“All the food is damn good,” she said. “It’s right down the street and I’m glad that this is closer.”
The carry-out business is small with the culinary magic taking place in the back. Eichelberger, who has worked at various restaurants over the years specializing in shrimp like Goose Island, said cooking shrimp has become something he loves doing.
“I just found a passion for it,” he said.
But instead of working for someone else, he wanted to build on his passion by starting his own business. His cousin and co-owner of the business, Norvel “Dvonn” Smith, 44, approached him about the idea of opening up a new business, specializing in shrimp.
Smith owns several businesses and was looking to set up a restaurant on the West Side of Chicago or in another village in Proviso Township, but Barbara Cole, head of the local nonprofit Maywood Youth Mentoring, suggested he give Maywood a try.
“Barbara Cole was very instrumental in putting this business in Maywood because I wasn’t going to come here,” he said, adding that his current location was enticed him to give the village a try despite neighboring locations that vied for his attention.
He said the food they serve is good with a good price to boot, which is the reason he believes the business has done so well.
Along with shrimp they offer scallops, oysters, frog legs, chicken strips and other items. Eichelberger said the most popular item on the menu is their catfish strips.
He said their secret seasoning they use on their fish and shrimp stands on its own during the frying process and gives it that special taste. They do not use any flour or corn meal.
Smith hopes to open up another Atlantis Shrimp House, as well as some other business, in the future. He loves being an entrepreneur, he noted.
“If you are confident with yourself, if you are confident with your product, why not do it for yourself,” he said.
Atlantis Shrimp House is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The business can be reached by phone at (708) 223-8445. VFP