A signature California-based ramen restaurant chain has opened its first Arizona location in downtown Chandler.
JINYA Ramen Bar, a contemporary Japanese franchise restaurant concept, opened recently in New Square, where DC Steakhouse and The Stillery are neighboring tenants.
JINYA in Chandler, owned by Realtor Daradee Olson, is the 41st location of a concept started in 2010 by Tomo Takahashi, the son of a restaurateur in Japan.
His father had owned an Isakaya-style restaurant named Jinya, where he focused on delicious food at reasonable prices that’s accessible to all.
Wanting to revive his father’s dream, Takahashi opened his first JINYA in Tokyo in 2000, naming the restaurant for a Samurai soldier who was close to the community.
When he came to the U.S. Takahashi decided that traditional taste and flavor of ramen wasn’t possible – unless he made it himself. So, he opened his first restaurant in Los Angeles.
Takahashi has been called one of the nation’s most influential restaurateurs.
Olson was inspired to bring a JINYA to Chandler after stumbling upon the concept while vacationing in Utah. She lived in Taiwan for six years, which allowed her the opportunity to visit 42 countries throughout Southeast Asia.
“She grew very passionate about Asian culture and cuisine, and after returning to Arizona, she longed for an authentic bowl of ramen,” a spokeswoman said.
According to Olson, “After eating at JINYA for the first time, I knew this was the style of ramen I had been searching for in the United States. When I returned home, I immediately began the process of bringing a JINYA Ramen Bar to the Valley.”
Olson is so passionate about the concept she has plans to open four more locations in the Valley over the next four years.
JINYA is known for meticulously prepared ramen broths that are slow simmered for 20 hours only in impurity-free Fuji water. The noodles are homemade.
The concept has consistently drawn raves from the Los Angeles Times for its ramen, featured in 12 signature creations that include JINYA Tonkotsu black, spicy chicken ramen, and spicy creamy vegan ramen.
The restaurant boasts six signature broths made from whole pork bones, chicken and vegetables “with just the right amounts of bonito, dashi, miso, kombu and other classic Japanese ingredients.”
The result is a rich, thick full-flavored broth.
The handmade noodles undergo a special aging process before they are cooked and served, a spokeswoman said.
JINYA serves 12 signature chicken, pork, shrimp or vegetable-based ramen creations, which can be completely customizable from a selection of more than 25 add-ons such as chicken chasu, kikurage, spicy bean sprouts, green onion and thin noodles.
The Sprouting Up Ramen features pork and chicken broth, pork chashu, kikurage, spicy bean sprouts, green onion, half seasoned egg, crispy Brussels sprouts, black pepper, ginger, and thick noodles.
Shrimp wonton ramen is “a simple but tasty creation of pork and shrimp broth, shrimp and chicken wontons, green onion and kikurage with thick noodles,” the spokeswoman said.
The menu also features a variety of starters, including salads and small plates.
Salmon poke mini tacos are served in a crispy wonton shell, topped with cilantro. The JINYA Bun is a sweet and savory small bite of slow braised pork chashu, cucumber and baby mixed greens, nestled inside a steamed bun with JINYA’s original bun sauce and mayonnaise.
A crispy chicken appetizer features juicy, garlic-pepper fried chicken thighs, served with baby mixed greens and JINYA’s house ponzu sauce. A Japanese street snack, Takoyaki is battered octopus balls, served atop egg tartar and drizzled with mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, green onion and smoked bonito flakes.
For those who want to skip the ramen, JINYA offers several rice bowls, as well as rotating chef’s selections. The California Poke Bowl is loaded with salmon, spicy tuna, shrimp, seaweed salad, masago, avocado and cilantro. Tokyo Curry Rice showcases a Tokyo-style curry with ground chicken. The current quarterly chef’s specials, available through the end of May include Tonkotsu Curry Tsukemen (dipping noodles) and ground pork Lettuce Wraps.
JINYA Ramen Bar offers a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes. For example, the Brussels Sprouts Tempura are crispy Brussels sprouts, sprinkled with white truffle oil.
A Spicy Creamy Vegan Ramen is a base of vegetable broth with tofu, onion, green onion, kikurage, crispy onion, garlic chips, garlic oil, chili oil, sesame seeds, and thick noodles.
The Vegan Rice Bowl features plant-based “meat”, crispy chickpeas, kale, pickled red cabbage, crispy garlic, roasted pine nuts, and vegan curry ranch dressing. In the Vegan Bun, a plant-based steamed bun is stuffed with a pea protein patty, guacamole, cucumber and vegan mayonnaise.
JINYA also showcases a full bar menu of local craft and Japanese beer, wine, and sake. Aside from Japanese sake, JINYA Chandler carries the only awarded sake made outside of Japanese, Arizona Sake, which is produced in Holbrook. For guests who really want to explore the world of fermented rice wine, Olson, as well as General Manager, Stephanie Daniels are certified sake sommeliers.
JINYA’s cocktail menu includes drinks like Lycheetini with Jinro Soju, lychee syrup, and fresh lychee or the Suntory Toki High Ball, served from a special machine that results in a drink that is ice cold, super fizzy and smooth. A machine dispenses the whiskey and soda at ultra-cold temperatures to keep the ice from diluting the drink, and a high-powered carbonation tap pumps out five times the carbonation of regular soda water.
The nearly 3,000-square-foot restaurant seats 60 guests indoors, which includes ramen bar seating with direct views of the kitchen action, as well as a long community table for gatherings. The outdoor patio space seats 42.
Information: 480-758-5198 or jinyaramenbar.com/locations/chandler.