Food & Drink » Food News

Zen Bento and the Art of Rice Bowl Expansion

State Street gets a Zen Bento location


Zen Bento is bringing its veggie-laden rice bowls to State Street. The popular fast-casual eatery, with locations in downtown Boise and Eagle, plans to open in early May in the former Kana Girl's Hawaiian BBQ space at 3912 W. State St.

Zen Bento owner Rene Iwamasa said they're not doing any major renovations to the space besides painting the outside of the building. The new State Street location, or ZB3, will feature an ordering counter and more seating than the company's other restaurants. It will also stay open until 9 p.m. in the summer.

"It's going to have the same menu as our downtown location, and we're actually looking to add more new items," said Iwamasa.

Iwamasa said Zen Bento is planning to open more restaurants over the next year or two, most likely in southeast Boise and Meridian.

"Wherever a healthier option for eating is needed is where we're going to go," said Iwamasa. "That area along State Street just looked like a good opportunity because it seemed like there was nothing in the area that did what we did."

In booze news, Red Feather Lounge and Bittercreek Alehouse are hosting an Earth Day/Arbor Day Tree Party Wednesday, April 22-Friday, April 24. According to a Facebook post, the adjoining restaurants will feature "wood-aged and wood-influenced beers on tap, a few extra oaky wines to choose from and forest-inspired cocktails." Cocktail options include A Birdsey Eye View (Birdsey Northrop is generally credited with globalizing Arbor Day), made with High West Campfire whiskey, black walnut bitters, lemon and demerara; along with the El Ejido, made with Bookers whiskey, Cynar, house tonic syrup and cacao bitters. Anyone who purchases one of these featured drinks will receive a tree seedling and a small bag of worm castings to help their tree grow. There will also be a raffle benefiting the Idaho Conservation League featuring photographs from artist Peter Lovera.