One of this fall’s most anticipated restaurant openings, Afuri Ramen & Dumpling will throw open the doors today at 11 a.m., at 50 SW 3rd Ave. (one block from Voodoo Doughnut), Afuri U.S. CEO Taichi Ishizuki tells Eater. Tonight also brings a grand opening celebration with a 6 p.m. kagami biraki saké barrel opening.
Nearly half the size of the original Afuri, the new shop is built for speed, with guests ordering by iPad. Ishizuki says the design is inspired by Tokyo’s automated shokkenki restaurants, sometimes called “vending machine” shops for their quick service. It is also making its own ramen noodles on-site.
“We created a noodle lab inside of the restaurant,” says Ishizuki. “to offer the freshest noodles in town.”
Afuri’s pinwheel-shaped gyoza, which have enjoyed Instagram star status over the past year, are also on the move: The new location will add two more versions in addition to the pork and chive option, as well as a new plating style.
Afuri already raised the bar on Portland ramen when it opened last year, and the new shop looks to be doing the same. The high-quality quick-service concept is a growing restaurant trend, illustrated by places like Din Tai Fung.
Afuri Ramen & Dumplings operates Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Behold the full opening-day drink and food menus: