by Jennifer Thomas photos by Claire McCormack
Dallas’ first ramen restaurant – Tanoshii Ramen + Bar – will open this coming Tuesday, September 24th. Located in historic Deep Ellum of Dallas, husband and wife duo – Joey and Chi Le – have created a vibrant free-spirited dining room and bar with a carefully developed menu dedicated to the beautiful Japanese noodle dish. The Le’s bring their experiences and the way they enjoy street food to Tanoshii with making fresh ramen noodles in-house and gyoza, embracing vegan dishes that are embedded in the Asian culture, and serving late night ramen hot pot.
Tanoshii’s recipes were meticulously developed by co-owner, Chi Le. “Ramen is truly an art. The ramen chef and the one eating the bowl of ramen are the artists as every bowl is made differently and every bowl is eaten in each person’s own special way,” explains Le. “It is said that no two bowls of ramen are alike, which is all the more reason to eat as many as possible. Ramen is simple yet incredibly diverse. One thing that unites all backgrounds is the love of good food. To enjoy ramen is to appreciate the Japanese culture and the history of this wonderful bowl of noodles, broth and toppings.”
Ramen, being a simple family dining experience and mixing that with playful details derived from old Japanese childhood stories, is in part how the name of the restaurant was derived – Tanoshii means “joyful ramen”. The Le’s worked closely with Coeval Studios on the design. Coeval Studios principal, John Paul Valverde explains, “We felt we needed to keep the essence of the old Deep Ellum building. Most of the general space was kept with the existing elements – the brick walls, concrete flooring, tin ceiling and more. Bold wood elements are added to the space and softened with custom Japanese noren signage and fabric shade lights. The dining room consists of low back seating with a community table and cushioned benches. The space is clean and open, while also maintaining a rustic and warm environment.”
Ramen originated in China, made its way to Japan after World War II and matured deeply there as well. It is now borrowed by numerous other countries not only in the East but now strongly in the West. Ramen allows the chef freedom to be creative and diverse. This may reflect in the chef’s ethnicity, childhood memories, and travel experiences. Ramen is always changing because it is created with pure soul. At Tanoshii, the Le’s like to call it the “Evolution of Ramen.”
Tanoshii Ramen + Bar | 2724 Commerce, Dallas | 214-651-6800
Hours of operation: Tues-Thurs 5-10pm; Fri-Sat 5pm-3am; Sun 11-3pm; Monday closed. Lunch hours will be added in October.