Bowls of hot ramen continue to see its popularity grow even during the triple digit temperatures of an Arizona summer. That’s no more obvious than the success with JINYA Ramen Bar that opened its first Arizona location in Chandler in 2021. Last week franchisees opened their second location in historical Uptown Phoenix expanding its ramen culture around the valley. The concept was started by Tomo Takahashi in 2010 and has over 50 locations with more set to open. The Japanese philosophy of “kaizen”, meaning “continuous improvement” has JINYA giving the best ramen guests to enjoy.
“Since opening our first location in Chandler, Arizona 2 years ago, we’ve felt so welcomed by the community,” says owner Daradee Olson. “We’re excited to be in such a lively part of the city with our newest location so close to all of the economic development in the Central Phoenix area. The JINYA experience is like no other, and we just can’t wait to continue sharing it with local residents and all the visitors that flock to Phoenix from all over the world.”
At JINYA Ramen bar guests will experience a modern Japanese ambiance while enjoying their slow cooked ramen. The rich broth is simmered for 20 hours before being combined with noodles and toppings including chashu pork, a seasoned poached egg and more. The menu offers signature ramen bowls along with build your own bowls. Signature ramen bowls include Spicy Chicken, Shrimp Wonton and Spicy Umami Miso ramen. Vegetarian and gluten free bowls are also on the menu along with Small Plates and Chef Specials of Spicy Tuna Tacos, a JINYA Bun and Pork Spare Ribs. Rice and Curry Bowls are also popular dishes. A full bar is available to enhance the customer experience to pair with ramen or Japanese tapas.
The Phoenix location is at 5120 N. Central Ave. and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. For more information and to view the menu visit their website.
The locally owned fast casual Ramen Hood is celebrating the opening of its second location at 1940 W. Chandler Blvd. The first location of the build-your-own ramen shop opened in 2018 in north Scottsdale and and Founder and CEO James Xie couldn’t be happier. Xie was inspired by his love of food and Japanese culture when he decided to open the upscale concept.
“We’re excited to officially celebrate our second location in Chandler, and what better time than during National Noodle Month,” said Xie. “You don’t have to be an experienced traveler to enjoy real ramen – we use a combination of traditional and contemporary methods while using fresh, quality ingredients, just like ramen shops in Japan. Best of all, you can create your own signature bowl with as many ingredients as you want.”
To celebrate the opening and National Noodle Month a March 29th grand opening is planned from 4-7 p.m. 20% of the days proceeds will be donated to the Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children. Expect a ribbon cutting with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce at 4-5 p.m. and a ramen eating contest at 5:30. Those interested can see the rules on their Facebook page and contact the restaurant via social media. The first 25 to attend will receive a $10 gift card and all month long customers who mention National Noodle Month will receive 10% off. For more information visit their website.
As we said goodbye to April we said hello to the first Arizona location of contemporary Japanese restaurant JINYA Ramen. Downtown Chandler’s New Square development is where franchisee Daradee Olson opened the 40th location of the concept that was founded in 2010. Olso discovered the concept while vacationing in Utah and having lived & traveled in Southeast Asia she wanted to bring the concept home to Arizona.
JINYA Ramen offers bowls of broths slow cooked for 20 hours and handmade noodles. Fuji water is used for broths because its 99.9% free of impurities and noodles go through a special aging process before they are cooked. 12 signature ramen are on the menu and including chicken, pork and vegetable based broths. Guests can customize their bowl with more than 25 add-ons. In addition to ramen guests can order starters, salads, small plates and rice bowls that can be prepared vegan or vegetarian.
Local and Japanese craft beers, wine and signature cocktails are available at the bar. The sake menu has been curated by both Olson and General Manager Stephanie Daniels who are certified sake sommeliers.
According to Olson, “After eating at JINYA for the first time, I knew this was the style of ramen I had been searching for in the United States. When I returned home, I immediately began the process of bringing a JINYA Ramen Bar to the Valley.” Olson is so passionate about the concept she has plans to open four more locations in greater metro Phoenix over the next four years.
Guests can enjoy themselves inside the 60 seat restaurant that includes a ramen bar or on the patio with views of downtown Chandler. The modern & sleek atmosphere includes lively music and views of the kitchen in action from the ramen bar. JINYA Chandler is at 130 S. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, Ariz., 85225. For more information, call 480-758-5198 or visit their website.
Virtual kitchens/food halls continue to gain popularity with the local restaurant industry. Concept Entertainment Group (CEG), owners of Thirsty Lion Gastropub have opened Central Kitchen, a virtual food hall from the kitchen of Chandler’s Thirsty Lion. Arizona is the 4th state to open Central Kitchen which was launched late last year in Oregon then Texas and Colorado. Guests can order from five concepts Soy Joy Kitchen, Southern Jewel, Killer Wings, Pizza & Spice and Thirsty Lion.
“We’ve been fostering the idea of a kitchen focused on takeout and delivery for the last year,” said John Plew, president and CEO of Thirsty Lion Gastropub. “The pandemic put the process into hyper speed, and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to pivot with the climate and launch an idea that aligns with current consumer demands. Central Kitchen fills a need in the restaurant space by providing multiple culinary offerings from one hub. Guests can order the food that everyone in their home is craving under one ticket.”
All menus include scratch made dishes created by Keith Castro, CEG’s VP of Food and Beverage Executive Chef. Guests can order take-out and delivery from one central website with ease and efficiency.
Soy Joy Kitchen specializes in rice bowls, sushi, ramen and other Asian favorites. Southern Jewel offers Southern fried chicken, Nashville hot chicken, sliders and Southern specialties. Killer Wings serves boneless and traditional wings with a variety of house made sauces. Pizza and Spice has a large selection of gourmet specialty pizzas and salads. Don’t forget burgers, salads, sandwiches and more from the Thirsty Lion and vegetarian options are available from most concepts. Starting January 26th Central Kitchen will offer 25% off each to-go meal ordered at the central website.
Noodles come in all shapes and sizes depending on where you are in the world and ingredients used to make them. Baked, boiled then tossed in sauces and seasonings they take on different tastes and flavors. Downtown Phoenix’s The Pressroom will showcase a variety of noodles at the 1st Annual Nom Nom Noodles Festival on the evening of Saturday January 18th 2020.
The Asian inspired festival will feature 12 noodle restaurants and businesses and will offer everything from ramen to chow mein to alfredo and more. All dishes will be available for purchase with each vendor offering at least one dish for $5 or less. The Pressroom will offer beer and cocktails for purchase and there will be Boba and desserts available as well. A curated marketplace featuring local artists will be on hand and guests will be able to play games.
Tickets for the festival are $8 for General Admission and early entry at 4:30 are $13. Children ages 7-12 are $4 and children 6 and under are free. Most vendors will accept cash and credit card and the festival will be held indoors and outdoors.
The Pressroom is at 441 W. Madison St. Phoenix 85003. For more information visit the festival’s Facebook page.
The fast casual Build-Your-Own restaurant concepts seem to be catching more steam as Ramen Hood opened in north Scottsdale recently. The strip mall shop off the loop 101 at Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. already has a captive audience.
Guests enjoy ramen bowls made with authentic Japanese ingredients along with rice bowls and Japanese specialties including Gyoza, Karaage Fried Chicken and Steamed Bao. Wash your meal down with the popular Asian soft drink Ramune aka Marble soda or a Japanese tea.
Why Ramen Hood?
“Ramen is one of my most favorite foods in the world. Every time I visit Japan, my first stop is finding a mom and pop ramen restaurant. The best ones are always very low-key, no frills, but always have long lines,” says James Xie, owner of Ramen Hood. “I realized there isn’t really anything comparable in Phoenix. I want people here to know what real ramen is like, and to not be intimidated in trying new styles and flavors.
Walk up to the counter at Ramen Hood and pick a Ramen or Rice bowl then add a protein(Cha Siu Pork, Tofu, etc) broth, sauce and toppings and in minutes you’ll have an Instagram worthy meal.
“Ramen can be way more exciting than the instant packets we ate in college. And at Ramen Hood, we make it just as easy to enjoy!”
“I’ve spoken to many ramen chefs throughout Japan who graciously gave me advice on combining different ingredients, as well as helped me come up with a few new ideas to create the perfect bowl of ramen,” says Xie, who has worked in the restaurant industry since he was 15. “I think it’s these trade secrets that will really make Ramen Hood stand out in the Valley and resonate with people who may not be familiar with traditional ramen.”
Ramen Hood is in the Gateway 101 shopping center at 15807 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85260. For more information check out their website.
Sliding into the space that used to occupy TK’s Tavern at the Scottsdale Quarter, OBON Sushi Bar Ramen will debut this spring from Tuscon based Fukushu Restaurant Concepts. The Asian influenced eatery is known for its traditional Japanese ramen and sushi with Korean flare and its well received craft cocktail program.
OBON founder Brando Katz is a veteran of the restaurant industry having worked as a regional manager for RA Sushi and in several restaurant positions in Tucson for more than 10 years until he went to open his own restaurant with partner Andrew Joffroy in 2015.
“Expanding this concept into the valley has been a longtime dream of ours since opening our first location in Tucson” says Katz. “From our diverse menu to our innovative cocktails and hip yet approachable atmosphere, I truly believe that we’ve created a unique dining experience that will resonate with people.”
The kitchen will be led by chef Paulo Im and the menu will highlight its OBON sushi, a variety of ramen along with steamed buns, Katsu pork and chicken teriyaki.
The bar program created by Beverage Director Matt Martinez has garnered accolades locally being named “Restaurant Bar of the Year” by Tucson Bar Awards and Martinez being named Tucson’s Bartender of the Year and Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender. In addition to craft cocktails OBON will also offer sake, wine and craft beer.
Check back for updates for more information, a full menu and opening date.
One of Phoenix’s favorite Asian style restaurants is bringing it’s classic Asian dishes with modern twists and craft cocktails to downtown Gilbert as Clever Koi announced it will open in September. Clever Koi’s new location will be housed in the bricked Heritage Marketplace building where Gilbert Rd. meets Vaughn Ave.
The new restaurant will have a modern Asian decor with large glass windows, an open floor plan for the dining room and bar and a sliding glass door leading to the outdoor patio along Gilbert Ave. The exposition kitchen will allow customer to see and smell the aromas of executive chef Jared Porter’s Asian creations. The decor will have Asian style accents along with modern colors showing off Gilbert’s rustic roots. Custom tile art installations will be made by Matt Noakes of Rain Made Design in Phoenix.
Cuisine and Cocktails
Chef Porter’s menu will include the bold flavors of Asian style rice bowls, house made dumplings, steamed buns, noodles and more. The seasonal menu incorporates flavors, styles and cooking techniques found in countries such as Thailand, China, Korea, Vietnam and beyond. To compliment the flavorful food Clever Koi’s Beverage Director/Partner Joshua James will duplicate his award-winning cocktails including classic Tiki drinks and cocktails such as Paloma and Pimm’s Cup.
Happy Hour will be available daily from 3-6pm and will offer specially priced food & drinks including The Koi Burger and Pork ramen among other dishes. To cool you palate at Happy Hour cold draft beers will be $4, $7 wines by the glass and your choice of 15 cocktails at $7.
Stay tuned for details about the opening and check www.thecleverkoi.com for up to the minute information.
Clever Koi in Gilbert will be at 384 N. Gilbert Rd. #101 480-284-7529 and will be opened Sun – Thurs 11am- 9pm, Fri and Sat 11am -12 midnight with Brunch on Sat & Sun 11am – 3pm.