In the next month, five ramen shops are set to open around the Bay Area. In the last month, two opened. As they say, three makes a trend. So seven? Seven makes a revolution. A boiling hot, salty, porky revolution perfectly timed with El Niño.
- Late October brought Iza Ramen, a pop-up-turned-permanent that was popular enough to grow into a brick-and-mortar location. 237 Fillmore St. Status: Open
- Following quickly on its heels was Hawker Eats, which focuses on what it calls "monster" ramen, like the signature $19 Ebirah bowl with a whole lobster tail, scallops, mussels, and a robust curry broth. 1650 Balboa St. Status: Open
- Next on tap: Shiba Ramen, which will open this week in Emeryville’s Public Market with just one or two ramens in limited quantity, and then build from there over the next few weeks to eventually include miso, shio, spicy tan tan mein, tori paitan, brothless, vegetable and chicken ramen as well. 5959 Shellmound St. ETA: This week
- Slurp Ramen (independent of Slurp Noodle Bar) is headed to Chinatown and is bringing tonkotsu ramen with it. It’s actively hiring, signaling an impending open. 710 Commercial St. ETA: To be determined
- Ho’s Bootleg Taven, a new bar in Russian Hill, plans to add a late-night ramen window to its service eventually. 2360 Van Ness Ave. ETA: To be determined
- Hopscotch chef/owner Kyle Itani's new probject Itani Ramen will debut in Oakland right after the holidays with four $12-14 (gratuity included) seasonally-changing bowls of ramen, plus a rotating special dedicated to different regions of Japan. 1736 Telegraph Ave. ETA: January 18
- And finally, the Tenderloin’s much-anticipated (and much-delayed) Mensho Tokyo has at long last set a firm opening date of December 20 for its first U.S. location. It’s a lot of noodle influx into the city, but each restaurant has a distinct focus, and each has been met with excitement. 676 Geary St. ETA: December 20
So why is the ramen revolution happening now? Well, it’s pretty late to San Francisco — in New York, Los Angeles and even Boston, ramen is firmly entrenched in city slurping culture — so it’s about damn time, really. While there’s not necessarily a shortage of ramen in the city, it is, as Itani told Eater last week, "still under represented in the Bay Area." The (relative) ease of opening a counter service versus a full service restaurant in this city helps, and ramen is particularly suited to that style of service — in Japan, it’s viewed as a fast meal. No matter the reason for the boom, we’ll take it. Get ready to slurp.