Japanese import/ramen-slinger Shigezo — which opened its first-ever U.S. restaurant near downtown's Park Blocks in October 2010 — has its eye on expansion, with a new location slated to open later this fall on SE Division.
According to manager Tamio Nojima, Shigezo's second brick-and-mortar restaurant is currently under construction in a new Urban Development Partners building at SE 39th and Division. "Division is kind of a hot area in Portland, so we liked to jump in there — instead of going to the suburbs, where our name recognition isn't there," says Nojima. The new spot — which is about half the size of the downtown restaurant, at 2,100 square feet — will feature separate areas for a robata, ramen corner, and sushi bar, with the design concept meant to mimic the feel of a "an alley of a Japanese town." As with the flagship location, Shigezo will import a chef from Japan to craft the menu, which will be "similar" what's currently on offer downtown.
The Shigezo brand also operates a ramen-focused food cart, dubbed Minizo, in Alberta Street's Alberta 15 pod, and according to Nojima, plans are to expand the brand out-of-state (though the next target market is still undetermined). Shigezo Division is scheduled to open in mid-November.
· Shigezo [Official site]
· All Previous Shigezo Coverage [Eater PDX]
Image of Shigezo's downtown location by EPDX