Bethany Clough

Zen Wok Fusion restaurant closes. Tower District isn't what it used to be, owner says

Zen Wok Fusion in the Tower District announced via Instagram that it has closed.
Zen Wok Fusion in the Tower District announced via Instagram that it has closed. Instagram/@zenwokfusion

After seven years in the Tower District, Zen Wok Fusion restaurant has closed.

Owner Andy Karsh, who will continue to run his catering company, Karsh's Catering, blamed several factors for the closure.

"Just not getting enough people through the door, the economy, the news media, and some of it just being where I’m located in the Tower," he said.

Karsh said people used to park in the Tower and hit up multiple places for dinner, dessert, drinks or a show. They're not doing that now, he said.

"They’re barely just going out to eat," he said.

Zen Wok, a little Asian fusion restaurant with a bar at 609 E. Olive Ave. near Casa de Tamales, was known for its honey walnut shrimp and fried green beans. It announced the closure on its Instagram site.

On the media, Karsh said: "Whenever the news seems to get a chance, they downplay the Tower District and how dangerous … it is, and it’s not. It ruined Mardi Gras for everybody on the street. If you came to the Tower District you would have thought it was a regular midweek day. There was nobody about, New Year's Eve, nobody out."

When people think of the Tower, he said, they think of the stretch between Van Ness Avenue and Broadway Street. Zen Wok is two streets east of Broadway.

"People, they just don’t get out and walk and venture around," he said.

Because Karsh will continue to use the restaurant's kitchen for his catering company, the restaurant space won't be up for rent. Karsh started using the kitchen 10 years ago and opened Zen Wok three years later. The dining room will be available to rent for special events.

An upscale sister restaurant called simply Zen Wok opened about three years ago at Palm and Herndon avenues. It closed a while ago and is now home to TamariRobatayaki & Whisky Bar.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough