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
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Looking forward to it!
Noodle Theory on San Pablo Ave, crosstreet is Stanford expected to be open if not this month then sometime in new year.
Thanks Sylvia, We’ve been wondering about that!
No offense to Shiba Ramen but I wish they’d try to entice some of the old tenants back. The new ownership really messed up the vibe and drove out the better restaurants. I’d take the Crispy Fry over any of the new spots. The owners are trying to impose a suburban mall food court feel on what used to be a really cool market vibe.
I used to eat there 4 times a week. Now I only go once every couple of months.
I’ve heard that sentiment echoed and +1 on the Crispy Fry. If they were moving in an Orange Julius, I’d be really aggravated but it does seem like their doing some interesting things (unique grocery store, brewery rumors …). I’ll reserve judgment completely until I see the final product.
We went at 5:30 on a weekday night shortly after this post, and there was a short line at Shiba Ramen. We were told that there was a 15-minute wait before ordering, and then they were estimating a 20-minute wait before our orders would be ready. Then we noticed the many people seated at tables with nothing on their tables…everybody was waiting for their orders. So unfortunately, we didn’t get ramen that night and haven’t been able to return.
I know they’re still sorting out their staff and kitchen process during their soft opening period. Give them another chance Pei!
I am at Shiba Ramen Monday Jan 4. Got in a line 12 deep in people at 1 pm. My order was taken at 1:10 and spicy ramen pick up was about 1:15. They are organized, moving fast even though the line is constant. The spicy Ramen was exactly what I hoped for including a halved perfectly poached egg and nice dollop of ground pork on top. Could have been spicier but I am an outlier for pepper spicy heat… Served my draft Sapporo immediately and it was a perfect counter to the ramen. Two thumbs way up. Great comfort food for a blustery day in Emeryville. I’ll be back!!
Thanks Sam. Glad to see they utilized their soft opening period to work out their kitchen process (Which is what it is intended to do, right?). Also thanks for the update that they are offering weekday lunch service!