Beatrice is owned and operated by Michelle Carpenter, the Chef/Owner of Zen Sushi in the Bishop Arts. Born to a Cajun father and a Japanese mother, Michelle pays homage to her Cajun family traditions in her second concept rooted in Louisiana’s deep gumbo of cultures, cuisines, histories, and peoples. Named after her “Mammaw” or grandmother, Beatrice (pronounced bee-AT-russ), the menu at Restaurant Beatrice includes a sampling of contemporary classics in a setting that embraces Louisiana hospitality and the Oak Cliff spirit of inclusiveness.
“Everyone knows that special feeling we get seeing the big blue highway sign as we cross the Texas border into swamp country: “Bienvenue en Louisiane.” Michelle states: “That welcoming embrace is unique to where I spent a large part of my childhood, and that’s the experience I want my customers to have. I dedicated my career to Tokyo-style sushi, and I’ve seen how sophisticated diners feel intimidated by Japanese cuisine. Refined or delicious foods shouldn’t include gatekeeping.”
Her Mammaw was a consummate homesteader who gardened, preserved foods, raised animals, and lived a life centered around self-sufficiency and economy. Michelle grew up with slow-cooked gumbo on the stove and looked forward to fish frys and crawfish boils on the weekends with family and friends. Her Japanese mother’s meticulous treatment of ingredients for home cooked Japanese meals would later set her up for a career in sushi.
After over 35 years of making and serving sushi–15+ of those years establishing roots in Oak Cliff at Zen Sushi as the only female-led and owned sushi restaurant in the region–Michelle fulfilled her lifelong dream of opening a second restaurant to honor the other part of her story. Her customers are able to travel on a culinary journey with her, from the streets of Japan to the wetlands of America, in the most diverse neighborhood in Dallas. Michelle may be partial, but she is convinced the best cuisines in the world are Japanese and Cajun. Michelle lives with her family in Oak Cliff.