After just over a year of slinging ramen and building a following as a pop-up, the team at Ken Ken Ramen has started building out a brick-and-mortar spot in the Mission. Co-owner Robert Patterson hinted that it was happening a few weeks back, and now that the liquor license app is out, he's ready to share all the details. When the owners of the former noodle factory at 3378 18th Street passed away, he and his partners at Ken Ken ramen got the nod to take over, and they thought it quite fitting to carry on the noodle tradition.
Patterson, who also owns Revolver boutique and art gallery in the Lower Haight, envisioned the interior design along with partner Stephan Roesch. Now their work on the build-out is nearly finished. The feel is minimal and modern, with textured ivory walls, two redwood communal tables, and an L-shaped bar (pictured) providing 14 seats up front. There's also a bar in the back of the space that looks into the kitchen for an up-close-and-personal view of ramen in the making.
As can be expected with the hop from pop-up to permanent, the move will allow Ken Ken to scale up with the menu options. They'll offer five ramen options, one of which will be a rotating monthly special, like Hokkaido crab or tonkotsu; more appetizers and more desserts from pastry chef Junko Schwesig a.k.a. Junko "San Flan." Patterson is also excited to offer a lot more sake, one beer on-draft and a slew of Japanese small-production ales. Always detail oriented, the team even commissioned a local potter to make their table ware.
Since Izakaya Yuzuki and the Namu boys new spot will be opening around the same time nearby, GrubStreet points out the whole area is going to be like a little Tokyo of sorts. Patterson expresses no concern, "We're excited that two other Japanese spots are opening on the block," he says, "It's sort of a like a more mellow area of the Mission that we're glad to be a part of building up." As far as the opening goes, they're basically dependent on city permits at this point. He's hopeful that the shop will be open some time in December.