The world of Portland ramen is about to get interesting. Marukin, the first of two Japan-based ramen restaurant chains opening in Portland this year, will begin ladling $10 bowls of ramen tomorrow at 609 S.E. Ankeny St. Will this be the first authentic taste of Japanese ramen in Portland? See for yourself while Marukin is softly open for lunch daily, March 4 to 17, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The grand opening will be March 18, when Marukin will expand its hours to 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
As the photos above show, Marukin is a streamlined space with communal tables—almost reminiscent of the communal counters in Tokyo ramen shops—which should make it a quick option for lunch and those on the go. Owner David Rademacher tells Eater the Portland restaurant is "unlike any of the nine locations in Japan."
The new Marukin involves deep red walls and large windows, including a garage door that can roll up in the warmer months. The tables and wood embellishments were made using 130-year-old timber beams extracted during construction at Marukin's second, soon-to-open Portland location inside Pine Street Market.
Located next to the Nong's Khao Man Gai brick and mortar, Marukin actively sought what it describes as a somewhat off-the-beaten-path location. "Marukin is generally not interested in 'top tier' cities or locations," says Rademacher, "as the focus should be on the food, not the need to sell so much to cover the overhead. Even in Tokyo, the Marukin locations are not right off the train stations—where everyone wants to be. One must walk a bit to get to any one of the locations."
If the ramen is as good as anticipated, ramenheads will be making the trek in droves.