Ramen Danbo is making Capitol Hill the home of its first U.S. location this fall, facing stiff competition from well-reviewed international ramen chains like Tentenyu, Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya, and Betsutenjin, as well as independent spot Ooink, in the crowded neighborhood. Danbo, which launched in 2000 and now has more than 30 locations across Japan, Australia, and British Columbia, specializes in rich, pork-based tonkotsu broth. The restaurant will open at 1222 E Pine St. Suite A.
Ramen Danbo’s menu, which is the same at all its locations, consists of ramen options like shio, miso, negi-goma, made with green onion and sesame, and a vegan option. Diners can customize their bowls in several ways, including choosing the thickness of the noodles and the broth. They can also opt for the chashu-men version of the ramen, which adds slices of pork belly, or the spicy rekka style. Other add-ins include lard, nori, and soft-boiled eggs.
The restaurant will open in a space that has seen its share of struggles. First, chef/owner Eric Stapelman ran a Japanese izakaya restaurant called Shibumi from April 2014 to August 2015, at which point he switched gears and opened a French bistro called Vivre. That, too, was shortlived; Vivre closed in the spring of 2016.