When it comes to noodle soups, Houston may be a pho town, but diners are certainly developing a taste for ramen. Jinya Ramen Bar, the California-based ramen chain with locations in Midtown and Webster, will add locations in Sugar Land, Katy, and Champions Village, owner/franchisee Jim Wang tells the Raw Conversations podcast.
Wang also posted images of the three locations to the Ramen in Common Facebook group. Work has already begun on both the Sugar Land and Katy locations. Construction on the Champions location will begin next month, Wang writes.
Since Jinya opened last year in the same Mix@Midtown development that's home to pizza restaurant Piola, French restaurant Artisans, and seafood restaurant Holley's, Wang tells podcast host Carl Rosa that it has exceeded his expectations. The restaurant is so busy that much of the prep work for the ramen is now done in the Webster location.
"I felt that the overall location without a front parking lot that's easily accessible was going to be a big hinderance, (but) it hasn't been," Wang says. "Simply because the three-story parking garage we have in the back . . . it's actually worked out for the better."
Other topics of note in the podcast include that the construction delays on the Midtown location cost Wang eight months of rent at $10,000 each, and his thoughts on the rumors that acclaimed Austin restaurant Ramen Tatsu-ya will open a Montrose location.
"I think it's good for the market. The way I see it with ramen, just like any other restaurant . . . people who do it well will continue to do it well," Wang says. "People who don't do it well are going to fade away. I think Tatsu-Ya coming to the market brings everything up to another level . . . Bringing more ramen shops to Houston is a good thing."