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Tochi, the punk rock ramen shop in West Bend, has officially closed. But there’s a new ramen destination on the way.
For years, Chef Gregg Des Rosier of Tochi has dedicated his culinary career to perfecting the art of the Japanese dish.
The journey began in 2014, when he debuted Tochi in the former Anaba Tea Room space in Shorewood. When the building was put on the market, Des Rosier moved his ramen shop to West Bend, where he introduced his craft to a new market of eager ramen enthusiasts. The shop, which succeeded despite skeptics and nay-sayers, closed earlier this month.
But ramen lovers needn’t despair. This fall, as De Rosier closes yet another ramen chapter, he’s launched plans to open his best ramen shop yet in Sheboygan.
“We bought a building in Sheboygan two years ago,” notes Des Rosier. ‘The original intention was to open another satellite location. But, as time passed, I just couldn’t get away from this restaurant to work on the new one.”
To compound matters, he says, when COVID hit, the restaurant took a financial hit, as well as running into staffing issues. Ultimately, he says, they were spinning their wheels trying to maintain the lease on the West Bend location.
“I can’t tell you what a tough decision it was,” he says. “ We had such a great staff, and it was just really difficult to say goodbye. But people have been so understanding and really supportive of our decision.”
The new Sheboygan ramen shop, which is expected to open in the next four to six weeks, will be located in a former vape shop at 623 N. 8th St. And Des Rosier says it’s going to be the best yet.
“It’s always been the objective to be a smaller, more maneuverable business that really brought us back to our love for cooking,” he says. “And this is going to be the best thing I’ve done in my life. Ultimately it will more closely resemble an actual ramen shop in Japan.”
The Sheboygan will largely resemble the concept in West Bend. But it will be better built for carry-out service. The new restaurant will also have an open kitchen so diners can see the ramen process first-hand.
Des Rosier says he’s been continuing to hone his recipes (including his broth) over the past two years and has invested in equipment, including a centrifuge, which will allow him to create some of the best dishes yet.
‘Tochi was always about being the best I could be,” he says. “And having had two years to really refine recipes, my hope is to make the best bowls of ramen I’ve ever made. This is it for me. It’s how I’m going to cruise through the last years of my culinary life. And I couldn't be more excited.”
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.