It looks like there’s more ramen on the way to Milwaukee. Artisan Ramen is slated to open later this summer at 530 E. Mason St. in the former home of Hibachi Boy, which closed last September.
Owner Nelson Szeto is originally from Hong Kong, and he says he’s spent the better part of the last year conducting research and development for the new restaurant, sampling ramen from shops in Hong Kong, Japan and Europe, as well as visiting shops in New York and San Francisco.
The restaurant, he says, will specialize in ramen and plans to offer a variety of options including standards like tonkotsu (pork), chicken and vegetarian varieties. Appetizers like edamame and takoyaki, a Japanese street food consisting of a battered ball often filled with octopus. Meanwhile, a full bar will feature Japanese spirits, sake, plum wine and Japanese beer.
Szeto says that one of the elements that will set Artisan Ramen apart from competition will be the noodles, which will be housemade using a machine imported from Japan.
"Our ramen menu will start with the usual suspects," he comments. "But we hope to work with the chef to create an original local version of our ramen, as well. There is always room in ramen for innovation."
Construction on the location is set to begin in the coming weeks. Once finished, Szeto says the shop will have a clean, sleek look and will feature both tables as well as seating at the bar and in a lounge area at the front of the restaurant.
Szeto says he was attracted to the growing market in Milwaukee and is excited to introduce locals to their offerings.
"There are quite a few Japanese restaurants here, but most of them focus on sushi. So, we saw the opportunity to do something a bit different. With Northwestern Mutual investing in the area, and so many new condominiums being built, we thought this would be a good location for the restaurant."
Once open, Artisan Ramen plans to serve both lunch and dinner.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.