Happy Gillis owners Abbey-Jo and Josh Eans bring Japan to KC with Columbus Park Ramen Shop, opening Oct. 9.
Story by Lauren Rutherford
The mention of ramen might take you back to your college days when the noodle dish was part of your daily diet and you could recite recipes for ways to spice up the instant dinner. Good news: Ramen is back, but this time your microwave won’t be doing the cooking.
After a Kickstarter campaign that raised $41,100, Abbey-Jo and Josh Eans are bringing Kansas City its first ramen shop in just a few short weeks. America’s craze for ramen, which, like most trends, started on the coasts, has finally reached the Midwest.
Today ramen shops in Japan hinge on the dish’s ease and convenience. Abbey-Jo says traditional Japanese ramen shops are only about 10 feet wide and allow customers to order via vending machine. It’s very literally Japanese fast food.
“It’s definitely a different idea of service and way of eating dinner,” she says. “It isn’t sitting there for an hour, hanging out and enjoying your ramen. Ramen is meant to be eaten fast and while it’s really hot.”
But don’t worry, you won’t have to order out of a vending machine at the Eanses’ American iteration. Since our culture is different, the Columbus Park Ramen Shop will stray from tradition a bit to provide service staff and other American touches.
Unlike the instant ramen you may be accustomed to, the shop will use fresh, made-from-scratch noodles sourced from storied Sun Noodles. The menu features four types of carefully crafted ramen bowls made with broth, chicken or pork and garnish. There will be vegetarian offerings and a pickle plate as well.
“Everyone’s essentially trying to make ramen better, so we’re just offering a platform where you can have it better,” Abbey-Jo says.
Leading up to the shop’s opening, the shop’s owners have been hosting pop-up ramen dinners at Happy Gillis. They sold out of ramen at both events.
“People stood in line, and they waited,” she says. “It was kind of amazing just to see this ginormous sea of people, and they were all there just to try one type of ramen from a place that wasn’t open yet.”
As for opening day, Abbey-Jo says she’s simply excited to open the shop, serve Kansas City and be a part of something cool.
Photos via Columbus Park Ramen Shop’s Facebook page.