Not many people have the guts or inspiration to start a business in today’s economy, but Zachary Zagata, Zack Yordy and Michael Wolfe have made it clear that nothing can stop their entrepreneur endeavors. They envisioned creating a relaxing and unique hookah lounge where people can socially smoke and have a good time.
Now, after all their dreaming and dedication, the White Dragon Lounge, located in the Gateway Shopping Center in Edwardsville, is open for business every day but Tuesday from 6 p.m.-1 a.m.
“A hookah, also called a water pipe, is a smoking device in which a flavored tobacco, called a shisha, is smoked,” Yordy explained. “The tobacco is mixed with molasses, honey or vegetable-based glycerin and flavoring, commonly fried berries and fruit. The shisha is place in a bowl, which goes on top of the hookah.”
He added that shisha is baked so the smoke is smooth and flavorful.
“When you inhale the hookah smoke, it feels like you are breathing in light fog,” Yordy added.
Yordy said that one of the great things about smoking hookah is that you don’t have to worry about smelling like smoke as you would in a crowded bar because you don’t get the nicotine smell, instead you smell the hookah flavoring.
The inspiration to open up White Dragon came from visiting other hookah lounges in the area.
“We went to one, we talked about it,” said Wolfe. “We’ve seen how popular it was. We wanted to start a business. We put two and two together.”
White Dragon’s owners feel that there’s one thing that sets their lounge apart from the competition: Its relaxing vibe and unique flavors. Yordy said they will have different flavors like Mobster, which tastes like Monster Energy, as well as Sex Panther, which has peach, cranberry and orange flavoring. They are also currently running a special of the month called “Lovers Special,” a Valentine’s-themed blend that includes raspberry, citrus and rose.
Wolfe and Yordy made it clear that they don’t want the White Dragon Lounge to be your average hookah lounge. They want to be known for their originality and laid-back environment. Wolfe shared that they currently have a chalkboard in the bathroom so that customers can unleash their inner child.
Both he and Yordy hope to display local artwork in the near future, as well as feature live entertainment with acoustic musicians. They stated that a big band wouldn’t fit in the lounge right now, so they want to start off small and work their way up.
“People that wouldn’t have the chance to play in a bigger venue,” Wolfe explained. “We can bring them in here and give them a crowd, and they can build off of that.”
Starting a business can be an exciting venture, but it can also be risky. You have to roll with the punches and just hope for the best, but Zagata doesn’t seem to fear the future of White Dragon.
“We’ve come this far,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens. We can’t turn around now.”