Los Angeles has been in the midst of a ramen "moment" for almost a decade. And now: ramen via a drive-through window.
Shin Sen Gumi, Mitsuyasu Shigeta's ramen restaurant group known for its Hakata ramen — a style from northwestern Kyushu that includes a pork-bone-based tonkotsu soup — is expanding to Torrance, with a location planned at the Torrance Western Shopping Center. And this time, Shigeta is planning a drive-through window for ramen and bento boxes.
"We decided to open a restaurant with a drive-through so we can make it easier for our guests who are always on the go," said Shigeta, Shin Sen Gumi president, in a comment to The Times. "Our drive-through is our way of taking a part of Japanese culture and adapting it to the American or Southern Californian lifestyle."
Slurping noodles in your car could prove troublesome, but it could make sitting in traffic on the 405 tolerable.
Besides the ramen the restaurant is known for, the menu will also include yakitori, udon, soba and "obento" boxes, which Shigeta referred to as having "a little of this, a little of that." Some of the lunch bento options include pork katsu, fried chicken and tempura.
If you'd like to sit down and slurp your noodles at a table, you can do that too. In addition to the drive-through, there will be seating for about 30 people inside the restaurant.
The restaurant is expected to soon be under construction, and an opening is planned for sometime during the holiday season. Shigeta said the proposed restaurant hours will be daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Shin Sen Gumi also plans to open a new ramen shop in Irvine, at the Woodbury Town Center, by the end of September or early October. It will be the first to serve udon, as well as a vegan menu with cold tofu, curry udon and broth made using kombu seaweed instead of bonito flakes.
Other Shin Sen Gumi locations include Little Tokyo, Fountain Valley, Gardena, Rosemead, Sawtelle Boulevard, a Shin Sen Gumi yakitori and shabu shabu restaurant in Monterey Park and a location in Tokyo.
Shin Sen Gumi Torrance on the corner of Western Avenue and 182nd Street | Shin Sen Gumi Irvine 6404 Irvine Blvd., www.shinsengumigroup.com.
Extra chashu or bust. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Jenn_Harris_