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Table top ramen with several bowls of ramen

10 Years of Ramen-san: Here’s 10 Things We Love

Cheers to 10 years of bowls, buns, sake bombs and more

For a decade, Ramen-san has served up more than 1 million steaming bowls of ramen to Chicago. In honor of the restaurant’s 10th birthday, we want to celebrate the beloved noodle joint and its four locations across the city, all of which have captured the hearts (and stomachs) of ramen enthusiasts, hip-hop lovers and Asahi (and sake bomb) drinkers far and wide.

Make a reservation or order carryout and delivery from the Ramen-san location nearest you.

Each location brings something different to the table, all while honoring the Ramen-san way of offering some of the city’s best ramen, set to the tune of golden era hip-hop. The “San” restaurant phenomenon started at the OG, Ramen-san in River North. When this location first opened its doors 10 years ago, the cozy spot instantly became the neighborhood’s go-to for late-night fried rice, buns and ramen.

Kimchi Fried Chicken Ramen Bowl at Ramen-sanNext, the team looked to the other side of Michigan Avenue, debuting Ramen-san Deluxe. This Streeterville staple takes things up a notch with the addition of maki, including maki express sets and more, eventually giving rise to a Windy City favorite, Sushi-san. Heading west, Ramen-san Whisky Bar in Fulton Market is a Japanese whisky lover’s paradise, boasting an impressive selection of the spirit. Last, but certainly not least, Ramen-san in Lincoln Park brings the party, with a downstairs dining space that can be booked for private events, including karaoke and build-your-own ramen parties.

As the Ramen-san brand celebrates this delicious 10-year milestone, here are 10 reasons why we absolutely love this neighborhood noodle joint!

1. The 10-Hour Tonkotsu Broth

Ramen san 10 hour tokotsu broth ramenThe heart and soul of Ramen-san is its rich and hearty 10-Hour Tonkotsu Broth. Made from scratch daily, this umami-packed broth has been on the menu since day one and forms the base for cult favorites like the Sumo, Kimchi Fried Chicken and Katsu Tonkotsu Ramen Bowls. Each bowl features Tokyo Wavy Noodles noodles sourced from Sun Noodle, a Japanese-American family-owned noodle business. 

2. Irresistible Appetizers

Ramen san crab rangoonWhile ramen is the star of the show, Ramen-san’s menu also shines with starters like pillowy-soft Mantou Buns filled with fried chicken, pork belly, or crispy tofu, and Crab Rangoon served with housemade sweet chili sauce, which quickly become a fan favorite since joining the menu. Another must order? Chicken Wings, available in Spicy Szechuan or Sticky Thai style…or, pro tip, order both! 

3. VegetarianGluten-Friendly Options

Edamame HummusRamen-san caters to all dietary needs, offering plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free-friendly options. Vegetarians can enjoy dishes like Edamame Hummus made with avocados and edamame, the Tantan-san Ramen with soy broth, tofu, and marinated mushrooms, and the Salad-san with ginger carrot miso dressing. Did you know that all of Ramen-san’s signature ramen dishes can be made gluten-free? Diners can opt to substitute with gluten-free noodles, shredded cabbage, or rice.

4. Blast-Chilled Asahi, Sake & Japanese Whisky, Oh My!

asahi cold draft beerMuch like the bowls of ramen on the menu, the drink offerings range from traditional to funky and fun. The Asahi is chilled to the perfect temperature in a Hoshizaki blast-chiller, making it the ideal companion to a piping hot bowl of ramen. The extensive collection of sake and Japanese whisky appeals to the most discerning palates. For a celebratory moment, order a Sake Bomb, available in three flavors including original, yuzu, and kimchi, or for a spirit-free alternative, go for the Glitter Bomb. Beyond these, the bar also serves a variety of non-alcoholic options and Japanese-inspired cocktails, such as the Yuzu Margarita, Lychee Martini, or the Ume Old Fashioned. Kanpai!

5. Save Room for Dessert

Hot Donuts at Ramen-sanRamen-san’s desserts (and the illustrated dessert menu) are a work of art. Save room for the Thai Tea Crème Brulee, Hot Donuts and Ube Basque Cheesecake. What’s more, the dessert (and specialty cocktail menu) is hand-drawn by Lettuce Entertain You’s in-house illustrator, Alex Payne.

6. Monthly Collab Dinners

Ramen-san Lincoln ParkFor years, Ramen-san has played host to its talented friends from across the nation in its monthly guest chef pop-up collaboration dinners. These special events typically feature menu specials for two weeks leading up to the main event, giving diners a taste of what’s to come. Past collaborations have included culinary stars like Chef Thai Dang, Manny’s Deli, Chef Stephen Gillanders, Henry Cai, Chef Dale Talde and more. Stay tuned for future collab dinner announcements.

7. The Playlist

ramen san lincoln parkMusic plays a crucial role in setting the vibe at Ramen-san, with a carefully curated playlist of 90s hip-hop featured at all locations. The boombox-themed carryout box is a nod to the restaurant’s love for music, transforming every meal into a multi-sensory experience.

Order Ramen-san for carryout or delivery and re-create the restaurant vibes at home with the Ramen-san playlist here.

8. Deals on Deals: Lucky Hour Specials & Express Lunch

Karaage Chicken at Sushi-sanRamen-san offers a variety of daily deals we love. During Lucky Hour, diners are presented with a deck of cards to pick their fate, featuring menu items like $5 Asahi, $6 Cold Dry Sake, $7 Penicillin Cocktails, $6 Karaage Chicken Nuggets, and $4 Chicken Buns. Other cards in the deck offer prizes such as a free Sumo Bowl or a Ramen-san T-shirt. Try your luck at Lucky Hour, available Monday – Friday from 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM at all Ramen-san locations. Check out the full Lucky Hour menu here.

Check out more Happy Hour deals near you.

Ramen San katsu pork express lunchAnother incredible value offer is Ramen-san’s Express lunch, available daily until 3:00 PM for $16.95, plus tax. This lunch special lets you pick from a selection of main dishes or ramen, paired with a small rice platter featuring your choice of protein, plus Salad-san and marinated cucumbers. Check out the Express lunch menu at Ramen-san here.

9. Late Night Fried Rice

Rmane-san late night fried riceWhen late-night cravings hit, Ramen-san has you covered with its rotating Late Night Fried Rice (aka LNFR) menu available daily after 9:00 PM at River North, Fulton Market and Lincoln Park. Fan faves include the Hawaiian LNFR with bacon, pineapple and chili threads and the OG LNFR with chashu ends and spicy kimchi. Pairing perfectly with a blast-chilled Asahi, Ramen-san’s LNFR is one of the best nightcaps (or start to your night) in town.

10. DIY Ramen Bar Paired with a Karaoke Party

Lincoln Park ramen san karaoke partySinging, slurping and sipping are the name of the game at Ramen-san in Lincoln Park’s private events space, complete with a full bar. Book a private karaoke party for you and your best friends and add on a build-your-own ramen bar. For more information or to book your private event or order catering from Ramen-san, click here.

Looking for interactive event ideas for your next private party? Check out more Lettuce ideas here.

On behalf of the entire team at Ramen-san, thank you for a fun 10 years, and we look forward to celebrating with you for another 10 more and beyond.

You’re invited to celebrate this monumental birthday with us at the Ramen-san location nearest you, reserve (or order online) today!

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