Josh Henderson’s new Kiki Ramen is right on schedule. The prolific chef and head of the Huxley Wallace Collective restaurant group announced plans last month to convert his “sexy taco bar” Bar Noroeste into a ramen restaurant. The transformation is complete, and the new concept will open tomorrow at 2051 7th Ave.
Henderson told Eater that Bar Noroeste didn’t resonate with the downtown/Amazonia lunch crowd. "We're always looking to do what the neighborhood wants," Henderson said. "We felt this location was calling for lunch and a robust happy hour instead."
Ramen seemed an obvious choice: “We were serving a ramen at Quality Athletics that we felt was pretty good," Henderson says. "We also think it will work well in that neighborhood. There aren't a lot of noodles in that area. This concept seemed like kind of a lay-up. Plus, we all love ramen.”
The space has been remade to accommodate quick lunchtime service. It will also serve dinner and happy hour, but don’t expect wild interpretations of ramen; Henderson says it will be “technique-driven” rather than “cheffy,” with traditional styles like tonkotsu, shio, shoyu, and miso. He’ll also serve okonomiyaki, edamame, and kimchi arancini.
Overall, Henderson says he "just wants to make solid ramen and appreciate traditions. My greatest fear is I don't want to be disrespectful to ramen culture. I want to do it justice and not overthink it. I want to focus on the basics and make it super tasty."
2051 7th Ave, (206) 775-7070, website. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Happy hour seven days a week from 4 to 6 p.m. with $1 off small bites, house cocktails, tap beer, canned wine, and hot sake.