Los Angeles ramen shop bowls over San Antonio with first location
It’s easy to be cynical about San Antonio’s proliferation of restaurant chains. Another Chipotle is hardly a reason to break out the bubbly in a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. But occasionally, news of a franchise coming to town seems more like an endorsement than a cash grab.
Such is the case for JINYA Ramen Bar, the Tokyo-born, Los Angeles-bred noodle shop once endorsed by late Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold. A company rep confirms that the well-regarded operation will open its first Alamo City location at 311 N Loop 1604 W. #110 in March.
The concept is the brainchild of Tomo Takahashi, the son of a Japanese restaurateur. Following those footsteps, he opened the first JINYA in Tokyo before seeing a market in California. Since then, the chain has expanded across the United States, including Austin, Dallas, and Houston.
The eatery specializes in tonkotsu ramen, an indulgent, silky broth based on slow-cooked pork bones and usually served with firm, thin noodles. Perhaps the most popular of JINYA’s variations is the Tonkotsu Black, served with braised pork belly, wood ear mushrooms, green onion, nori, garlic chips, and fried onion.
Other slurps include wonton chicken ramen with green onion and spinach, a yuzu-seasoned option with a clear pork and chicken broth, and an umami-packed variation topped with ground pork, bok choy, and chili oil. Plant-based eaters have plenty of choices, too — like the Flying Vegan Harvest with Impossible meat or a spicy bowl with creamy vegetable broth.
In addition to ramen, the shops serve a variety of other treats, from appetizers like Brussels sprout tempura to traditional pork gyoza. During San Antonio summers, guests can also opt for curry rice bowls, mini salmon poke tacos, and jalapeño butter corn.
Though the exact opening date and hours have yet to be announced, JINYA Ramen Bar locations are typically open seven days a week until at least 10 pm. Company reps promise more details closer to opening.