ZEN BENTO is a locally owned, independent, Idaho business. It's co-founders grew up in the valley area, and first opened in September 1996 in Boise, Idaho. Due to customer demand, in April 2005, a second location was opened in Eagle.
Zen Bento translates to "Peace in a Lunchbox". The driving force behind opening the restaurant was to provide a healthy alternative to the typical lunch routine where one could eat our meal and feel good about the experience with both mind and body. The menu was created with health and nutrition in mind, without compromising taste. The simple menu is based around teriyaki rice bowls. The bowls of Japanese style rice are topped with a choice of grilled marinated cuts of chicken breast, top sirloin, salmon or ahi and then finished with a side of hand cut steamed vegetables and a choice of house made sauces. Brown rice or noodles can be substituted for the white rice. Zen Bento also offers vegetarian style meals of marinated tofu and steamed vegetables. Another popular item on the menu is a fresh cabbage based chicken salad with a house ginger soy dressing. All meats and vegetables are hand trimmed and all sauces and marinades are made in-house.Although the goal was to provide a healthy alternative to the typical fast food routine, Zen Bento did not advertise itself as a "health food establishment", for fear of the negative image it might generate. Rather, Zen Bento opened its doors and offered its product and let the public decide if they liked it. To those who knew it was a healthier choice, they were happy. To those who didn't know the difference or care, Zen Bento still took comfort in knowing it was providing a healthy meal to its customers!