A New Place to Find Zen
The super-popular North Naples noodle house is expanding to Estero.
Freshly made strands of ramen meet their match with calamari, crab, shrimp and mussels in Zen’s Hokkaido Ramen.
Photo by Dorothea Hunter Sönne
Mike Cardascia and Pitak Hermkhunthod (the latter more commonly known as chef Koko) have always had big plans for Zen Asian BBQ. Even as it was just getting off the ground in North Naples late last year, they were talking of expansion well beyond the borders of Collier County. Now those dreams are becoming a reality.
Their next project, Zen Asian Noodle House in Estero, is actively in the works, and they’re hoping to have it open by September.
“Koko can’t believe the amount of ramen we sell every day,” Cardascia says. “Everybody loves his ramen.”
The chef is in Japan right now for a week to get ideas for both the menu and interior. Early talks have yielded a basic framework: a few types of ramen, sushi and robata grill items in an authentic Japanese ramen bar setting with a covered patio, Zen garden and koi pond.
“We’re very excited about it,” Cardascia says. He also notes that as they continue to grow, they’re planning to use the noodle bar concept for smaller spaces and the Korean barbecue mixed with pan-Asian dishes format that has worked so well in Naples for larger ones.