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Kamloops is getting a new ramen bar before Christmas

Locals will have a new lunch option, near Thompson Rivers University
Ramen is all about noodles, broth and yummy toppings. (via Shutterstock)

If your ramen experience has only consisted of eating raw Mr. Noodles at 2 a.m. because you're too high to cook, a new Kamloops restaurant will have a lot to show you.

The former Lucky's restaurant, in the Landmark development, isn't staying empty long. Moving in will be the Wakayama Ramen Bar, opening later this month.

"We searched everywhere in B.C. and found this great location across from Thompson Rivers University," co-owner Danny Yan tells KamloopsMatters. "We just feel that outside of Vancouver, there's not a lot of ramen bars."

Named after a Japanese town that has excellent ramen, according to Yan, Wakayama will have a variety of Japanese dishes for students, people on the go and those looking for a place to hang out.

Yan helped found a ramen bar in Vernon, where he's from, but sold it to a business partner. After that, he and current business partner Dominic Cheung were thinking of starting something in Kelowna, but couldn't find the right location.

ramen-kamloopsThe former Lucky's restaurant, on McGill, is being turned into a ramen restaurant. (via Tereza Verenca)

That led them to Kamloops, a town Yan hadn't been to in years.

"Before we researched into Kamloops for space, I hadn't been back to Kamloops since 10 years ago," he says. "We see that Kamloops is a booming town now."

"We just like the vibe here, with all the students, and that is our main focus."

With a boom in ramen noodle shops still happening in Vancouver, Yan and Cheung are hoping to export that energy.

"We're trying to bring the ramen bar hype and culture outside of Vancouver," Yan says. "They're still popping up in Vancouver."

The culture of ramen bars focuses on the traditional Japanese noodle. Ramen bowls are filled with a simple broth and toppings, ranging from seafood to eggs.

"It's a food that's not just for Asians, it's for everyone I think," Yan says. "Our toppings are really different and we like to give good portions."

The noodles will be made fresh in Vancouver, he adds.

"We asked them to make it to our style, actually. They're making specific ramen for us."

Aside from ramen bowls, Wakayama will also feature snack-sized rice bowls and appetizers, aimed at students. While it's going to be a sit-down restaurant (with room for 40), take-out is expected to make up a significant portion of the business as well.

"We know in Kamloops there's a famous ramen restaurant called Tiger Ramen," Yan says. "We feel that maybe students can use another place to hang out and relax and they can enjoy their breaks there."

A soft opening is tentatively planned for Nov. 20, with a smaller than usual menu, so front-of-house staff and the kitchen can get a feel for Wakayama before going full bore. Cheung and Yan plan to be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

You can find Wakayama Ramen Bar at 795 McGill Rd.


Brendan Kergin

About the Author: Brendan Kergin

Brendan Kergin is a digital reporter based in Kamloops.
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