Jinya Ramen Bar has taught many Angelenos a thing or two about rich, porky soup and springy noodles since its debut in 2010.
The restaurant, a concept from Burbank’s La Brea Dining, has grown from its first location in Studio City to four more in California, including Santa Monica, Mid-Wilshire, and Hollywood. In recent years, it has expanded nationally and internationally to more than a dozen sites and is about to tack on several more.
Restaurants in Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; and Atlanta are slated to open by the fall, with locations in San Jose, Salt Lake City, Houston, and Toronto, by the end of the year.
“To open restaurants in cities where ramen is still considered novel is very exciting,” said Chief Executive Tomonori Takahashi in a statement. “We look forward to introducing our distinct style of ramen to diners there for the first time.”
Takahashi has expanded by franchising – the Studio City, Mid-Wilshire, and Las Vegas ramen spots are company owned, as is the Hollywood quick-serve version called Jinya Ramen Express – and leveraging its unique recipes. The popular tonkotsu broth, for example, flavored with boiled pork bones, must simmer for more than 10 hours. The noodles are aged for three days, a technique intended to enhance their flavor.
The spots close to home serve as a testing ground for Takahashi’s creative spins on classic ramen bowls. He once put Brussels sprouts on the menu at Jinya Ramen Express, and the topping proved so popular that it became a staple throughout the entire chain. Takahashi’s latest invention is ramen infused with truffles, a $24 dish that is being tested out at Jinya Ramen in Studio City.
– Daina Beth Solomon