The noodle: an integral part of all cold weather comfort food, especially when it comes in delicious, broth-y goodness. In Chicago, the noodle bar and ramen craze has only grown more popular since it first exploded last summer, and has increasingly become a hot trend on the Chicago dining scene. This Japanese staple will keep you warm through the winter, and hungry for more all summer long. Bring a spoon and start slurping - this city is all about the ramen noodle.
Urban Belly is considered by many to be the forefather of Chicago ramen, and to have ushered the city into this state of ramen-utopia, as Chef Bill Kim brought a higher-end treatment of ramen onto the scene. While Urban Belly has recently moved from the Northwest side of Chicago in Avondale to the dining epicenter of Chicago on Randolph Street, fondly known as Restaurant Row, Bill Kim and his team continue to serve Chicagoans the popular noodle.
Where To Get Your Noodle Fix
Slurping Turtle and Union have both taken the ramen noodle to the next level and have started producing their own noodles in-house, which Union use in its three ramen offerings of spicy pigtail, vegetarian mushroom, and short rib. Slurping Turtle Chef Takashi Yagihashi calls his ramen noodles his "soul food;" this very food led to Sunday noodle brunches at his restaurant Takashi and became the foundation for his newer creation Slurping Turtle, an ode to the fresh-tasting, light, and elastic ramen noodle.
Yusho takes its ramen noodles so seriously that is it's willing to open its doors to duke it out . A ramen battle is going down at Yusho Sunday, February 9, between Publican Quality Meat's Chef Cosmo Goss and Blackbird's Chef David Posey where guests will vote on which chef's ramen is the superior ramen. This will be Yusho's first in a series of monthly ramen battles between local chefs, keeping Chicago's infatuation with the ramen noodle a hot topic amongst the Chicago culinary community.
And the ramen doesn't stop there. Looking for your ramen on the fly? Ramen newcomer in the Streeterville neighborhood Arami GO! offers delicious ramen with a new blend of flavors, temperatures and textures, with affordable costs and convenient delivery services. In search of a go-to neighborhood ramen fix? Located in Wicker Park and nationally rated for its ramen, Oiistar boasts variations on its handmade ramen, including a version with mussels and "pozolmen," tender pork loin ramen with a spicy pico de gallo.
The Ramen Burger
Opened this past fall, Buzz Bar offers a new gourmet burger experience to the casual diner and prominently features the Ramen Kobe burger. Originating in New York City, the ramen burger is brought to new heights here in Chicago, a kobe beef burger with cheddar, fried egg, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula and Sriracha sauce between two patties of buttered house-made ramen.
Soon to join Chicago's Ramen scene, is Brendan Sodikoff's newest brainchild, High Five Ramen in the West Loop where the only thing you'll find on the menu is: you guessed it, Ramen and refreshments. Taking inspiration from a ten-day tour of Tokyo to gain a first-class education of ramen, Brendan Sodikoff and his restaurant group menu developer Jeff Pikusare are looking to push the boundaries on their ramen menu.
The ramen innovation happening in kitchens throughout Chicago is a testament to the staying power of the ramen noodle on the Chicago culinary scene. But don't take our word for it - slurp up a bowl (or munch on a burger) from our inventive Chicago chefs on your next visit, and you'll have a new go-to wintertime dish.