Marugame Udon, the popular Japanese chain that has been drawing crowds since it opened in Stonestown Galleria in late 2018, is expanding in the Bay Area once more. This time, it will open in the ground floor of a shiny new Cal-owned building in Berkeley at 1919 Shattuck Ave. according to Berkeleyside.
The chain has six locations in the U.S., including Stonestown Galleria, three in Los Angeles, and two in Hawaii. Each one offers a varied selection of udon noodle bowls, which are ordered in a cafeteria-style line. Diners choose a bowl (hot or cold noodles, small or large) which is boiled to order; a tempura and musubi bar where diners can choose their own options, like potato croquettes, shrimp tempura, or rice balls filled with salmon is next. There’s a toppings bar where udon bowls are finished with cilantro, green onions, tempura crumbles, or various sauces.
It’s notably an affordable lunch or dinner option for the neighborhood, which leans heavily on the student population. The basic kama-age udon is $4.50, while the more loaded nikutama bowl (with sweet beef, soft egg, kake sauce) is $8.50 for a regular size and $9.50 for a large; tempura ranges from $1.30 to $2.20 per piece.
It’s also joining a growing community of Asian chains in that immediate neighborhood: Chinese matcha dessert chain Amausaan Uji Matcha opened across the street at 1905 Shattuck Ave. in June, Korean chicken chain Bonchon opened at 2050 Berkeley Way last year, and Japan’s Ippudo Ramen opened around the corner at 2015 Shattuck Ave. in 2017.
This is the second time the udon chain has potentially opened in Berkeley, though rumors of a downtown location in 2017 ultimately didn’t pan out; this time, signs at the location and confirmation from a contractor onsite indicate that it will. Eater has reached out for more comment from Marugame Udon’s parent company Toridoll.
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