Jim Wang, proprietor of the Houston-area JINYA Ramen Bar location, announced to the Ramen In Common Facebook group that there are three more locations in progress, all in suburban areas. The new restaurants are planned for Sugar Land, Katy and Champions Village.
There are two existing locations. The first, in Webster, opened in October 2014, and in March 2015, the eagerly anticipated inside-the-Loop location opened in Midtown.
JINYA Ramen Bar is the offspring of Robata Jinya, which was founded by Tomonori Takahashi in Tokyo before he opened the first United States location in Los Angeles. It wowed many Californians, including the LA Weekly restaurant critic at the time, Jonathan Gold.
Since then, JINYA Ramen Bar has been on a fast expansion track in the United States. (The reason for the slight name difference is that these are franchises.) Just to name a few, there are now locations in San Diego, Las Vegas, Austin and, of course, Houston. The Midtown location received an excellent review from the Houston Press for its creamy tonkotsu, stellar dumplings and more.
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The Sugar Land location is slated for First Colony Mall in the former World Of Beer space next to The Cheesecake Factory, and Wang says that, at 3,700 square feet, it will be the biggest location in the area to date.
In Katy, JINYA is taking up residence at Mason Creek Center. Construction on the Champions Village location, on FM 1960, is to start in June. An article at Culturemap Houston also captured some comments from Wang taken from the Raw Conversations podcast hosted by Ramen In Common and Sushi Club of Houston founder Carl Rosa.
For many, this means no more long drives for a good bowl of ramen, and that is definitely some good news for Houston dining.