Local café has sax-appeal

Richmond Hill lounge brings the spirit of T.O Jazz Fest north


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Owner Wentian Liu at Zen Café & Lounge

Zen Café & Lounge is a six-month-old eatery that serves a variety of unique food and drink, from high tea to colourful “Love Journey” shots. They are also the newest destination in Richmond Hill for live music, with a weekend roster of jazz and soft rock performers. Wentian Liu is the owner of Zen and a number of other restaurants across North York. Here he shares his story of some of the more unique features of his business. 

Where do you source your ingredients and wine?
All the coffee and tea are certified organic. I have my own organic winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. My organic farm is in a small town called Omemee. It’s the hometown of Neil Young. There’s a Neil Young museum in Omemee that is only open in the summer. Not a lot of people know about it, but I mention it because I think that we have to protect local culture, the history, the music. We have to protect the local farms and the local businesses.

You have a ghost player piano. Can you explain what that is?
The ghost player piano is custom-made. It plays itself. We have a built-in speaker where it can actually play “Fly Me to the Moon,” by Frank Sinatra. When you close your eyes, you feel like Frank Sinatra is singing with a live piano in front of you, but when you open your eyes, there’s nobody sitting there, and the keyboard keeps moving. 

What are “Love Journey” shots?
Each stage of a relationship, the journey of love, has a different taste. We’re trying to mirror that into a round of six shots. They’re popular with our customers. One of our customers actually proposed to his fiancée at my café. They ordered the Love Journey, and they said, “We haven’t gone through the entire journey, yet, but hopefully this round of shots will give us luck.” So that was quite a moving experience. (9425 Leslie St., 905-237-5936).

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Jessica Wei is an associate editor for Post City. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Montreal, Hong Kong and, now, Toronto. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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