After quite a wait, the people of El Paso will have the heart of their city back with the grand opening of San Jacinto Plaza this weekend. Not only is it the center of the city but the nucleus of pedestrian activity in Downtown El Paso (DTEP) as well. So, whether by serendipity or design, business owner David Chen has positioned himself nicely as the purveyor of 3 new DTEP restaurants. Each of the restaurants are no more than 2 blocks away from San Jacinto Plaza, making them prime choices for hungry visitors on foot.
The trio of restaurants Chen owns, are diverse and deeply cultural.
The Japanese fusion restaurant Oishii, found next to the Plaza Theatre in Pioneer Plaza in the Las Plazas Arts District offers a rich selection of sushi.
King Crab on Mills Street in the Office District, offers a genuine New Orleans seafood boil experience, and just around the corner, the Pho King House serves traditional Vietnamese Pho.
Chen, formerly an international businessman specializing in economic development shared with us where the influences for his restaurants stemmed from, “I am originally from Taiwan, and Japan occupied Taiwan for many years so we have a lot of Japanese influences. My grandma could only write Japanese and so we had that influence.”
“When the cultural-revolution happened, many Chinese left the country to other countries and some went to Vietnam. So we have that influence, our executive chef is from Vietnam,” said Chen.
One might wonder how the seafood boil idea might have made its way into these new businesses, but Chen shared how affecting a trip to Louisiana was for him, “The seafood boil [idea] came while on a trip to Louisiana, where I fell in love with the food and people there.” As a result, not only does El Paso now have a seafood boil experience but the Executive Chef is also from New Orleans to add that touch of authenticity.
Chen, a Façade Grant recipient from the Downtown Management District also has plans for the property on 500 San Francisco in the Union Plaza District. We will have to wait and see what Chen has planned, specifically.
“I really believe in the city of El Paso. Most major cities are working on major downtown redevelopments to increase the city’s progress and I am one of those believers,” he said.