JINYA Ramen Bar, the California-based ramen chain that's expanded to locations in New York, Las Vegas and spots along the West Coast, now has an upcoming Houston location listed on its website. Set to open in March or April, the company confirms Eater's report that the restaurant's location will be in Midtown's The Mix complex at 3201 Louisiana.
In an email, JINYA CEO Tomo Takahashi tells CultureMap that they're looking forward to bringing JINYA's ramen/izakaya concept to Houston. "Houston is a place that has the potential to develop, and we believe authentic ramen will be accepted there," he writes.
He adds that the company's freshly made pork, chicken and vegetable broths help it stand out from its competitors.
James Beard Award winning food critic Jonathan Gold named Jinya as one of LA's 10 best ramen shops.
"JINYA Ramen Bar selected Midtown for it's first flagship location for many reasons," Takahashi explains. "Midtown is an area frequented by many young professionals, drinking aficionados, dining enthusiasts, and party goers. This is the area in Houston where you can find a great number of bars, pubs, lounges, and other night time venues where you can unwind, meet some friends, or just have a great night out."
To the extent that online reviews are any indication, ramen fans should probably be excited about this development. James Beard Award winning food critic Jonathan Gold named Jinya as one of LA's 10 best ramen shops, and the restaurant gets generally good Yelp reviews.
Although it's tempting to see the arrival of a national chain as some sort of tipping point at which any fad moves from hot to passe, let's welcome JINYA with open arms instead of cynicism. Hopefully the presence of an experienced, successful import will encourage the new wave of Houston's homegrown ramen shops to continue to improve their quality.