More ramen and sushi burritos: Zen opens 2 NEW locations
Summer seems to be the best time to open a soup shop around here.
Zen Ramen & Sushi Burrito has proven that before when it opened in Parkland in July 2018. And don’t forget that Kuzuki Ramen and Izakaya opened at Tacoma Mall in July 2019.
When Zen’s Parkland location opened, diners lined up for the steaming hot bowls of ramen during a massive heat wave.
Will the same hold true when Zen duplicates itself not once, but twice, this week with TWO new locations in Lakewood and downtown Tacoma.
I’d bet on it. Diners around here love Zen. This diner included. And, well, the weather isn’t exactly summer weather (just yet).
To be fair, Zen doesn’t just serve ramen (8 kinds). Zen produces plenty of summer-friendly foods. Their 12 varieties of sushi burritos are thoughtfully composed with special attention given to the sturdy wrapper and construction. I appreciate the flavor layering in their six kinds of poke bowls (one of those is vegetarian). Oh, and the beer. There’s also frosty beer.
Zen Ramen & Sushi Burrito opens today (June 16, 2020) at 322 Tacoma Avenue South and also today (June 16, 2020) in Lakewood at 8534 South Tacoma Way.
You read that correctly and I’ll write it a third time: TWO new locations are opening at once.
LAKEWOOD ZEN RAMEN & SUSHI BURRITO
That Lakewood location is the former home of Saritgol, a Korean restaurant I gave high marks to for its bibimbap and sullungtang soup when it opened in 2018.
Zen is from the same owners as Saritgol, so consider this a concept flip, not a new restaurant from brand new owners.
“My husband Scott is from New York. He was working at a Korean and Japanese restaurant in New York” before moving to Lakewood, explained Sanghee Lee. She and Scott will run the Lakewood Zen Ramen & Sushi Burrito.
Her brother-in-law Jamie Lee opened the Parkland location and will also run the Tacoma Avenue South location that opens today (June 16).
Although Scott has a background in Korean and Japanese cooking, his culinary calling is Japanese cuisine, said Sanghee. “His specialty is Japanese food. So he decided to reopen with a Japanese restaurant.”
His brother had already started the Zen concept so they thought it fitting to continue his restaurant theme with their own location in Lakewood.
“For now we are open for take-out only,” said Sanghee Lee. They intend to offer third-party delivery.
The style of service, casual nature of the restaurant and the menu at the new locations are identical to the Parkland Zen with the exception of a few menu names. For example, Parkland’s PLU burrito will be the exact same composition, but it will be renamed the TCM burrito at the Lakewood location.
ZEN RAMEN & SUSHI BURRITO MENU
Zen’s menu includes eight styles of ramen made with tonkotsu broth and one vegetarian version with a soy broth ($10.50-$12.95). 12 versions of sushi burritos include a selection of raw and cooked sushi burritos with options include one burrito made with raw tuna and raw salmon, another made with bulgogi and another with tempura chicken ($9.50-$12.50). Poke bowls include the typical raw tuna poke bowl to fully cooked bowls assembled with tempura shrimp or chicken ($9.50-$13). In addition to a vegetarian ramen choice, there’s also a vegetarian sushi burrito and poke bowls. For carb watchers, there is one sushi burrito made with a soy wrapper and no rice.
The appetizer menu includes pork or chicken buns, gyoza, seaweed salad and spicy tuna poke nachos. There’s also a short list of dupbap. Beverages include beer, sake, tea, soda and other soft drinks.
DOWNTOWN TACOMA LOCATION
The Zen Ramen & Sushi Burrito location at 322 Tacoma Avenue South is within walking distance of soon-to-open Odin Brewing and Pint & Pie. Jamie Lee will operate that location. Jamie also operates the original Zen Ramen & Sushi Burrito in Parkland.
Cool thing to note: Manga fans will take note at the Parkland location that artist Masashi Kishimoto, creator of Naruto, most certainly was the inspiration for the Parkland dining room murals. I can’t wait to see if the Lakewood and downtown Tacoma locations have similar decor.
ZEN RAMEN & SUSHI BURRITO LOCATIONS
Original Parkland location: 528 Garfield St. S., Tacoma; 253-292-0731
New Lakewood location: 8534 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; https://www.facebook.com/zen.ramen.58
New downtown Tacoma location: 322 Tacoma Avenue S., Tacoma; https://www.instagram.com/zenramentacoma/
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
ODIN BREWING AND PINT & PIE OPENING
Did you read my stories about Odin Brewing Company opening in Tacoma in the old Hub-Harmon space in the St. Helens neighborhood? Read about it here.
Pint & Pie will be the downstairs neighbor to Odin when it opens next door to Doyle’s in the Stadium neighborhood. Read about that here.