Zero Degrees has no chill when it comes to combining different cultural flavors. It’s not everyday you stumble upon an Asian and Hispanic fusion restaurant franchise from California in Louisiana.
The recently opened Zero Degrees location just outside LSU’s North Gates is run by owners Molly Tran, Nick Tran and their partners Chris Tran and Stephanie Nguyen.
“There’s a big community of Asians and Hispanics [in California]. The [original] owner wanted to bring Asians and Hispanics together,” Nick says. “They pretty much blended it together, just to get a fuse, that kick from the Hispanic taste and Asian taste together.”
The name Zero Degrees is based on the franchise’s origin as an Italian ice shop, according to Molly. Zero Degrees is located right on the outskirts of Louisiana State University on College Row.
Walking into the establishment, there are people of all ages with curious eyes, eager about the new restaurant. Then there are people who know exactly what they want: the Mangonada—a mango slush with savory chamoy sauce, the lime-flecked spicy seasoning Tajin and fresh mango chunks. Dubbing itself as the “Home of the Mangonada,“ Zero Degrees has successfully combined the sweet tang of mango with plenty of spices, making this a refreshing yet eye-opening concoction.
Besides the Mangonada, Zero Degrees also serves up teas, milkshakes and another customer favorite, the Spicy Watermelon Slush blending watermelon with chamoy, Tajin and fresh watermelon chunks. Then there’s the food menu, which features everything from garlic butter popcorn chicken to garlic noodles with shrimp.
“Some days people buy nothing but noodles, and some days people buy nothing but wings,” Nick says. “But our most top seller is the popcorn chicken.”
On the Hispanic side of the restaurant’s fusion menu you’ll find elotes, or Mexican street corn. Zero Degrees takes it in a wild direction with its XXTRA Flamin’ Hot or Cheddar Jalapeno Elotes. The street corn is literally doused in XXTRA Flamin Hot Cheetos, but you could just opt for original elotes with mayo, cotija cheese and paprika. You can also order Carne Asada Fries or Chicaronnes, among other items.
“We wanted to get the majority of a student crowd,” Nick says about the LSU North Gates location. “[Students] are the ones that are always on social media; we advertise most likely on social media, so they can click on it pretty quick.”
Zero Degrees is at 3260 Highland Road.