Our “Meet The Merchant” series is written for you, our reader, to introduce you to the shops, restaurants, services + people that make the Bishop Arts District unique. This week, we’re talking to Michelle Carpenter, Head Chef and Owner of restaurant Zen Sushi.
What is your business all about?
We offer contemporary Japanese-American cuisine. Our menu marries Japanese training and technique with regional ingredients with the best quality seafood I can source. We want our customers to feel relaxed and comfortable, as our staff offers friendly and helpful service.
Oak Cliff has a casual vibe. That’s what we love about the neighborhood. I’m a fan of eating high-quality food, made by professionals with good ingredients, without the pressures of a high-end restaurant (though I deeply respect chefs that offer that experience) You should be enjoy great food without having to wear a suit.
Zen also serves a full vegetarian menu and plenty of cooked options. We try to offer something for everyone.
When did you open your doors?
Located in the Bishop Arts District since 2007 – 12 years!
What is the mission behind Zen Sushi?
Thoughtfully-crafted Japanese-American cuisine.
Chef-driven, female-owned and operated. Our culinary team boasts 95+ years of Japanese cuisine experience.
Quality ingredients, responsibly-sourced. Made-to-order.
Friendly, helpful service in a casual setting.
Why did you choose the Bishop Arts District?
So many of my friends have called this neighborhood home for so long. Oak Cliff just felt like home, more than any other part of the city. Bishop Arts consists of independent businesses owned and operated by people I know, many of whom live in Oak Cliff. They are not representatives of large, faceless corporations. Most of the owners and workers here care about where they work and where they live because it’s the same place.
What’s your favorite thing about the Bishop Arts District?
I feel a great sense of pride when I look out at the floor during Friday and Saturday night service. My customers are diverse. People of different ethnicities, orientations, and creeds feel welcome here. Zen is proud to serve every one. There are not many places in the world where you see integration and diversity like the BAD.
Build a perfect date night or family day trip in the Bishop Arts District. Where would you go? What would you do?
I live in Oak Cliff, so there can’t be one perfect night. Maybe a perfect week would be easier! I have too many friends with too many businesses to pick favorites for one day.