Two months ago, Zi Fusion, whose name will soon change to Purple Ginger (more on that later), was flooded when a sprinkler head burst and several water pipes broke, severely damaging the restaurant's hardwoods, mainly in the bar area. "The bar is warped so bad that you can hardly walk on it," says former executive chef -- now bar manager -- Rhett Songer. "We've got to completely replace the floors in that area, and because they're mahogany, we have to get all of the wood shipped in," he adds.
And that project is going to take a while -- at least two weeks -- so Zi Fusion, aka Purple Ginger, closed yesterday for a short sabbatical.
"We won't have a firm reopening date until the contractors come in, today or tomorrow, but it'll probably be at least two, maybe three weeks," says Songer. And while the contractors replace the floor, Songer and the rest of the crew, including owners Ricky and Anna Choi, will embark on a few projects of their own, including the addition of a sushi bar. "Ricky and Anna hired a sushi chef from New York, so we're going to retool the sushi menu, build a pretty substantial sushi bar in the dining room and expand the sake list," notes Songer.
And, he says, the menu will get a makeover, too -- even though Songer won't be cooking most of what's on it. "Ricky really wanted to take control of the kitchen, and I've run lots of bars in the past, so it all works out," says Songer, who says that he still has a hand in the kitchen and will continue to collaborate on the menu.
Now...about that name change. When Zi Fusion first opened, it did so as Zi Cuisine, which, as you can imagine, caused a flurry of confusion, since Denver already has a Z Cuisine -- our 2011 Best of Denver winner for Best French restaurant. "We changed the name because of the confusion, but more important, we wanted to let people know who we really are -- and what we really are is a fusion restaurant," said Ricky when I interviewed him last October, just a few weeks after the restaurant had opened.
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The Chois, however, also own Purple Ginger Asian Fusion in Lakewood, which they opened in 2009, and that restaurant, says Songer, has a loyal following -- so much so that the Chois are changing the name of Zi Fusion to Purple Ginger. "The reputation of Purple Ginger is really good, and Ricky and Anna wanted their friends and customers from that restaurant to know that they're the same people," explains Songer.
End of confusion.