Though the Mission’s Ken Ken Ramen served its last bowl at 3378 18th Street last month, closing for “personal, financial, and professional reasons,” there’s good news in store for local noodle slurping enthusiasts: Ramenwell, a new restaurant from chef/owner Harold Jurado, is on its way to take over the location, opening as soon as this summer.
Jurado made his way to the Bay Area, where he’s been opening cafes at Google for Bon Appétit Management Co., from Chicago, where he lead the kitchen at popular (but now-closed) Yusho. He grew up in the food industry, his family running a Filipino restaurant, and he later opened Chicago’s trendsetting Chizakaya and was the opening chef at Jellyfish.
Now fully installed in San Francisco, his forthcoming restaurant will focus on ramen with just a few appetizers. “With this restaurant, I’m not trying to push too many boundaries, just trying to create a staple ramen restaurant in the area,” Jurado says.
One mainstay will be tantanmen style ramen, made with chili and sesame oil. “It’s my favorite,” he says of the Sichuan influenced style of broth. “The depth of the flavor changes as you continue to eat it.”
Jurado will renovate the Ken Ken space somewhat for Ramenwell, but the emphasis will be on food above atmosphere. With a beer and wine license, he’ll also keep things simple in terms of beverages, hinting at some soju or sake cocktails on tap down the line.
Stay tuned for more on Ramenwell as SF’s ramen-friendly summer season approaches.