Mysterious ‘Odor Beyond Our Control’ Forces Closure of Strip Center Chinese Restaurant in Spring

Koya Asian Kitchen, 2111 Spring Cypress Rd. Unit 900, Spring, Texas

A curious 2-month-old “growing sewage odor” has forced 2-and-a-half-month-old Koya Asian Kitchen to announce that the restaurant will shut its doors forever, its owner claims. Before coming to the decision, owner Lisa Zhou says she employed a sequence of smell-be-gone techniques, including lighting scented candles, deploying a phalanx of air fresheners, and even opening the doors of the Szechuan establishment in a brand-new strip center at the corner of Spring Cypress and Old Holzwarth Rd., across from H-E-B. “In the end,” writes Zhou in a Facebook post published yesterday, “none has been effective against the horrendous smell.”


The stench, wrote Zhou, was “very bad for business, especially a restaurant . . . since the odor was quite strong, some new customer[s] didn’t even get to sit down and [have] complained about the smell, therefore left before trying our food, leaving a bad impression to all the newcomers, returning customers leaving with disappointment, and doubts of our sanitation.”

It’s not clear from Zhou’s post on the restaurant’s Facebook page whether the odor — “emitting from the AC since mid November” — is still present or has been eradicated from the spot at 2111 Spring Cypress Rd. “Initially, we deduced that the odor was beyond our control,” writes Zhou. But she later writes that after contacting the landlord — whom she thanks for helping to fix the problem — “it took 2 months to have the odor completely rid of.” Here’s the complete text of the post:

As some may have noticed, there has been a growing sewage odor emitting from the AC since mid November, though it comes and goes throughout the day, it was still very bad for business, especially a restaurant. Initially, we deduced that the odor was beyond our control, but we tried other methods to fight off the odor, methods like several scented candles, air fresheners, opening the doors to have the fresh air blowing in, in the end, none has been effective against the horrendous smell. We have contacted the landlord when the odor first came out, but to our disappointment, it took 2 months to have the odor completely rid of. Our business was growing quite fast after we opened, and we are very grateful for all of you guys trying our food and continuing to come back time after time, but since the odor was quite strong, some new customer didn’t even get to sit down and has complained about the smell, therefore left before trying our food, leaving a bad impression to all the newcomers, returning customers leaving with disappointment, and doubts of our sanitation. This whole ordeal obviously affects us financially, debts to suppliers due to the throwing away of underused stock, and various other distributors as well, seeing as the damage has been done, we had to take care of personal finances first before business. We were extremely saddened knowing we’d have to close down the restaurant as we are financially incapable of continuing to run it.

Thank you to the landlord helping to fix the problem, friends who supported us, the staff that has braved through this ordeal with us, and most importantly, the customers of Koya Asian Kitchen, for enjoying our food, as we have been delighted to hear the compliments you have given us for our food, it definitely has encouraged us a lot in the past.

With a great amount of gratitude to our customers and friends, and sadness from our part, we hereby announce that, from this day forward, Koya Asian Kitchen will be officially closed.

Photo: Koya Asian Kitchen

Sniff, Sniff

11 Comment

  • Thank you, landlord, for fixing problem in only 2 months time! We must close now.

  • Had this same issue with our home in Midtown. The issue ended up being the air intake was not large enough where the filter was. Because of this, the blower would suck air from the drainage pipe in the pan for the hot water heater that was next to it. Removed the filter and reduced the stress of air coming through, the sewage smell went away.

  • I wonder whether they tried pouring water down the floor drains. Tsk tsk if a restaurant closed simply because they let their p-traps run dry.

  • These sewer gas odors are not uncommon in restaurants, hotels, etc. THERE IS A SIMPLE SOLUTION: pour a bucket of water each month into each floor drain in the back of the restaurant. The odor is caused by p-traps drying out and allowing sewer gas to escape from the sewer lines. This is a “DUH!” solution, but surprisingly few “professional” restaurateurs know to do this.

  • This happens in homes where you might not use one bathroom very much, such as a guest room bathroom. Flush the toilet once a week, run water down the sink and in the tub, too. Thankfully I learned the trick before shelling out lots of money to a plumber.

  • Makes you wonder how often they mop the floors.

  • Good article, one of my tenant- clients in Austin is having the same issue with an odor coming into their commercial space which is causing some issues. in Austin. In accordance with standard language in most leases all tenants have the right for quiet enjoyment of their lease space. The tenant of the Asian restaurant had the right to vacate.

  • @Steve – was that Mings near UT? Last time we went the sewer smell was terrible near the restrooms. But I assumed floor drain problem & ate their delicious food anyway. I told the staff to check the floor drain but they were totally not interested in /could not smell the problem.

  • It might be that a fixture is not properly vented. If so, then sewer gas will gurgle up through the drain like a coke( or beer can) would when turned upside down without a hole in the bottom. There also might be a vent pipe terminated in the attic instead if penetrating the roof line. Living in an old Heights house teaches you a few things.

  • ********RED FLAG RED FLAG******* I read this and the feeling that something is being left out of this story is no doubt stronger than the odor issue these people had. Ive been plumbing since I was a small boy. I now run a small repair company in NW Houston. I assure you if they had called me complaining of odor issues that I would have fixed the problem. Im a good plumber but Im not the only good plumber out there. So who did they call to try to fix it? Surley you dont close your doors on your livleyhood because you yourself cant fix it. My truck breaks I call a mechanic I dont leave it on the side of the road. I cannot fathom them not calling someone or somebody not suggesting a plumber to these people. I also find it hard to believe that if they called more than a few plumbers out that none could solve the issue. How many plumbers walked in here to eat within two months? I walk in here (as most plumbers would) and smells this and thinks “new customer -$$$- endless business possibilities- etc. Something is wrong with this story from beginning to end.

  • Our restaurant is experiencing the exact same problem. We are also located on Louetta Rd. We have been in business for just over 2 years now and the problem has never gone away no matter how many “professionals” we have hired to try and fix the problem…We are not the only business in this area that is experiencing noxious sewer gases infiltrating our space and having to see our business walk back out the door because of the smell. Quite a few other venues are stinking to high heaven around here. Yes, we regularly pour water down the floor drains….We have kept good maintenance and upkeep of our grease trap and bathroom plumbing etc etc…We just keep throwing money at this problem yet it persists….We suspect that there is deeper problem that involves the city and the infrastructure…Please can anyone tell us what can be done before we are the next restaurant to close?