Orenchi Ramen, the Santa Clara den of tonkotsu, is generally considered one of the top dogs in Bay Area ramen, with Tasting Table's Jonathan Kauffman dubbing it "among the best I've ever tasted," the Chron noting that it's "one of those cases where the food is worth the wait, not to mention the drive from San Francisco," and 2,500 glowing Yelp reviews and counting. Needless to say, cityside ramen fans are in for a treat: Orenchi is opening a second location in the Mission.
"I chose the Mission because it's a very exciting, central area that people in the city can access easily," says owner Kuniko Ozawa, who says she's also looking forward to being closer to Tartine and Four Barrel. The 49-seat space will, like the original, be first come, first served, and Ozawa expects that "we'll have an even longer line in the city than Santa Clara," where waits can easily top two hours at peak times. Ozawa, who's still working on hiring a chef, says the ramen menu will be identical to that of the Santa Clara location. She's still firming up the rest of the offerings, and may add different appetizers to accommodate SF diners' tastes. She's also still debating whether she'll limit Orenchi's popular tsukemen to 15 orders per day, as is the tradition in Santa Clara. The restaurant is applying for a beer and wine license, and will serve Japanese brews and sake.
Craig Steely, an award-winning modern architect, will be designing the space, and Ozawa describes the look as "modern Japanese," with attributes like a rock garden out front. The space is currently a cannabis dispensary, so a full buildout will be needed; Ozawa anticipates the new location won't open until next summer at the absolute earliest. In the meantime, however, Orenchi fans have another sister spot to check out in Santa Clara: Ozawa's planning to open a robata restaurant, Iroriya, right next door to Orenchi in the next month or so.
· Orenchi Ramen [Official website]