It’s been eight years since I first set foot in the EZee Café, and it's one place in Fukuoka City I’ll always come back to. This is Koichi Nakagawa’s creation, a distinct and pleasant fusion of delicious Tex-Mex cuisine, classic film atmosphere, laid-back furnishings, and refined music selection that has been thriving since 1997.
The café is spacious, with room enough to bring a large group (I've had parties of over 60 here) or for a couple to find a quiet corner. There’s also a room for darts, where you can play for free. Of course, you can always hang out at the long and stylish bar and chat with Koichi, who speaks English well, or the friendly locals.
The menu is highlighted by Tex-Mex cuisine, or American-style Mexican food, including fajitas, tacos, and fresh guacamole. The extensive selection includes many additional dishes such as homemade pizzas, steak, ribs, chili, salads, pastas, and scrumptious desserts.
The bar is fully stocked with a wide variety of quality spirits—including tequila, still uncommon in Japan—fine wines, and cocktails prepared with seasonal fresh fruits. And, for beer connoisseurs, Koichi is especially proud of being one of the first places in Fukuoka to offer draft Guinness. No cans, mind you, this is the real thing. Indeed, Guinness on tap is still a rare find anywhere in Kyushu, especially outside of Fukuoka’s downtown area. And, being a café, you can enjoy a coffee or soft drinks here at any time.
This is a personable and inviting place, designed to make you feel at home. I find the music both relaxing and energizing: it’s loud enough to enjoy but not overwhelming at all. Conversations flow easy here, especially with Koichi. He’s been in customer service for a long time and has an acute sense of what customers want. So if you’re up for being friendly, he’ll gladly talk about classic films, design (he’s put together the interior of the café), music, shodo (Japanese calligraphy), cuisine, or just about anything. And if you want some tranquil space to yourself, he’ll make sure you get it.
Knowing who owns and operates the place, and what they stand for, and the heart they put into their services and products makes me feel good about frequenting an establishment. A stand-up guy, Koichi has long been a pillar of the community here. He’s in frequent contact with owners of top restaurants all over town and supportive of community events, such as organizational dinners, local festivals, English lessons and parties, and even Halloween events for children.
The EZee Café merits a trip to this part of the city and is a place I can highly recommend. Open for early dinner until late night, it’s a perfect stop on the lively road back from a day at Aburayama, and it’s also near the restaurants and bars of Ropponmatsu, or a short cab ride from the zoo and botanical gardens. Kick back, eat and drink well, enjoy the atmosphere, and make a friend or two.