Manville Chan has been educating students of ramen for two-and-a-half years, using various kitchens in SF as his classrooms. Tomorrow he’s adding a new chapter to his business, called the Story of Ramen, opening a new brick-and-mortar space to serve lunch to the public and teach regular classes in the evenings.
The new digs are at 3231 24th Street (between Capp and Cypress Streets) formerly George’s BBQ. There, the Story of Ramen will serve some sides like gyoza and ramen with broth options like classic pork tonkotsu, chicken, and vegetarian (with Chan’s signature spicy versions also available). Hours are 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on weekdays. Online ordering, take-out, and delivery will be available later this fall.
During the evening, the Story of Ramen will continue as a ramen school, with Chan teaching his two class options: A two-hour noodle making course, and a four-hour broth and noodle making master class.
“People are surprised that it’s not as hard as they thought,” Chan says of his students. But there are plenty of other misconceptions, too. “It’s always funny when someone doesn’t know what ramen flour is,” he says.
In a competitive restaurant environment like San Francisco’s, Chan has carved out a niche in the “food experience” category, earning revenue through web bookings for his classes.
“People come here for special occasions like birthday parties, and I do a number of corporate team building classes.” In fact, 70 percent of Chan’s groups are coworkers looking to bond and cut loose. Teams from tech companies like Facebook, Uber, and OpenTable have all taken his class.
Chan’s a former tech worker himself: He left the field three years ago to pursue his ramen business full time. He studied at Japan’s International Ramen School in Yokohama, but after he returned, he didn’t want to open a restaurant like so many others — at least not right away — pursuing ramen as a hobby and side-business.
Now, Chan’s new storefront is more traditional, but he still hopes to drive curious ramen lovers to his class. And even for customers just looking for a bowl of spicy tonkotsu ramen without working too hard for it, Chan doesn’t want to be “just a ramen restaurant.”
“We still want to incorporate some education,” he says.
- The Story of Ramen [Official]