Payson and sushi don’t enter the minds of most people in the same thought.

But a new business hopes to change that thought process.

W & Z Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar opened June 19 at 203 E. State Route 260 in the former location of Pasta G’s and Cardo’s before that, in the Payson Village.

Out with the Italian and in with the Asian cuisine.

It’s not just the Payson restaurant serving sushi. W & Z looks to attract customers and keep them returning with its offerings.

Rim Country residents filled tables for dinner on a recent weeknight. Time will tell if they keep coming back.

But manager Vivian Zheng believes the formula that prompted owners Frank Wu, of Lakeside, and his partner to add a Payson location to their restaurants in both Pinetop-Lakeside and Taylor (near Snowflake) will work in Rim Country like it has in the White Mountains.

Wu also owns buffets in Show Low and New Mexico.

They feature a sushi chef who gained experience in New York City, and Zheng says the sushi rolls are very popular. And they have so many varieties of rolls you’ll just have to check out the menu to see them all at and click on the Payson location, then the menu tab. You may order online and pick up at the restaurant.

Not a fan of raw fish? No problem.

A menu, bursting with options, includes about 35 Chinese dishes, Thai food, Southeast Asia meals, Japanese Bento Boxes, sushi bar items, and both two- and three-roll lunch specials.

The menu boasts more than 25 special rolls, including the W & Z Roll featuring spicy crab, pepper tuna, seaweed salad, avocado, wrapped with soy bean pepper, topped with spicy scallop, crab, crunch, masago, scallion, eel and mango sauce.

There are also many regular rolls, including California featuring crab, cucumber and avocado, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, eel cucumber, eel avocado, Philadelphia featuring smoked salmon, avocado and cream cheese, Boston featuring shrimp, cucumber, lettuce with mayo, spicy crab roll, Alaska featuring salmon, avocado and cucumber and others.

They feature about 20 house specials ranging from Spicy Mango Chicken and Triple Delight with chicken, beef, shrimp and vegetables with garlic sauce, to Dragon & Phoenix which includes shrimp with mixed vegetables and general chicken combo.

They also serve many kinds of noodles and rice.

Top your meal off with desserts like Japanese mochi, tempura ice cream, cheesecake, tiramisu, fried banana, fried cheese cake and coconut rice.

They serve a variety of soups, salads and appetizers and they also have a diet and gluten-free menu.

W & Z is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Call 928-474-3755 or see their Facebook page for more information.

Contact the reporter at

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(1) comment

Andrea Lindsey

Mu husband and I tried the new bistro on Saturday. I ordered Maki and he ordered a Teriyaki chicken Bento box. We were served soup and salad quickly enough. But then my Maki came out like 20 to 25 minutes before a simple teriyaki Bento box came out. When it did finally come out it was bland at nest. My Maki rolls all lacked flavor and were unusually dry. We waited another 20 minutes to finally get our check and get out of there. On top of it all they are not social distancing or spacing out booths or tables like they should be. My husband and I both love and adore Japanese/Asian cuisine and went in with an open mind. Left extremely disappointed and will not be back.

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