I’ve heard 2015 referred to as “The Year of the Ramen” within foodie circles. We’re of course not talking about the Maruchan brand instant Ramen you can get a 24 pack of for $8 at Costco that got you through college. We’re talking freshly made noodles and complex broths washed down with craft beers. In fact last year when they held a Ramen Festival in SF, it attracted thousands who waited in line reportedly as long as three hours to get ahold of the Japanese wheat noodle soup dish.
Ramen shops have sprouted up overnight around the Bay Area and Emeryville will finally be joining the frenzy. But not just any Ramen Shop, a meticulously planned Ramen shop that is the brainchild of two chemists. The Grand Opening of Shiba Ramen this year is expected to touch off the rebirth of the long-awaited Public Market Food Hall renovation that has been perpetually under construction.
The long journey of husband & wife tandem Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura began four years ago when they moved to Oakland. They were disappointed by the lack of availability of one of their favorite comfort foods and about a year and a half ago decided to take matters into their own hands.
After announcing their lease signing at The Public Market last April, they took a whirlwind trip to Japan to gather inspiration for their new venture. Chemist turned chef Nakamura immersed herself in the preparation of Ramen including a crash course at the famed Tokyo Ramen Academy of Japan. They documented every step of their journey in their RamenChemistry.com blog.
Now the broths are perfected, the kitchen process is being smoothed out, the beers are paired and Shiba Ramen will be slowly introducing themselves to Emeryville as early as this week. “We might start doing extremely limited dinner service this week, but we’ll definitely be open for dinner next week and for lunch as soon as possible after that” noted Freed.
Shiba Ramen will attempt to honor the more approachable, street food version of Ramen instead of the “gourmet” approach that some have opted for. Their Japanese-aesthetic stall in the Public Market Food Hall will offer counter service and have reasonable prices ranging from $9-12. “We’ll probably have a limited menu for a while until we get our kitchen fully staffed and while we work out all the recipes on scale” noted Freed. No menu is available yet but Eater SF is reporting the eventual inclusion of miso, shio, spicy tan tan mein, tori paitan, brothless, vegetable and chicken ramen as well as the Japanese ice cream sandwiches below.
Joining Shiba soon will be Koja Kitchen who we’re told is “getting close” followed early next year by We Sushi and Mayo & Mustard. The grand vision for the Public Market Food Hall is to have as many as twenty diverse, international food concepts under a single roof.
All images courtesy of ShibaRamen.com