Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya (formerly Kukai Ramen & Izakaya) will open their first Midwest location in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood at 1482 N. Milwaukee Avenue. With an opening slated for late February 2016, Kizuki aims to provide Chicagoans a taste of authentic Japanese ramen.
Founded in 2003 in Japan, Kookai Ramen grew to over 20 locations in Tokyo and was then brought over to the United States in 2012 as Kukai Ramen & Izakaya. The brand name was later changed to Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in December 2015. Kizuki currently has four locations in the Pacific Northwest including three in Washington and one in Oregon.
Kizuki offers customizable, made-to-order ramen dishes featuring a variety of broths, toppings, and four different types of noodles. The menu combines fresh, locally sourced ingredients with special ingredients from Japan such as fish flakes, kelp and yuzu (Japanese citrus). Kizuki makes their four different types of ramen broths from scratch daily in-house and what sets them apart from other ramen shops is that they first roast their chicken and pork bones before making the broth, resulting in soup that is rich in flavor without the gaminess and strong smell that pork can have.
Kizuki’s specialties are Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (rich pork broth flavored with Yamaguchi soy sauce, topped with black garlic oil), perfect for ramen lovers looking for something that’s hearty, rich and full of flavor, and Yuzu Shio Ramen (French sea salt, kelp and Japanese citrus based), a unique, refreshing ramen unlike the traditional ramen stereotype of meaty and creamy. Additional ramen highlights include the Vegetable Ramen, Spicy Ramen, Miso Ramen and Chicken Rich Ramen.
The menu also features 18 small plates including Chicken Karaage, Chicken Wings, Japanese Pork Bun, Prawn Cutlet and more. The complementary beverage program will offer an expansive Japanese whiskey, sake, and craft beer selection.
The space, designed by Kizuki’s master designer, will be influenced by the Wicker Park neighborhood with elements of a traditional Japanese ramen house. It will feature an open kitchen and noodle bar with seating for 90 guests at lunch and dinner as well as intimate bar with seating for nine. The interior of the restaurant and its open kitchen concept are meant to provide a cultural experience for Kizuki customers as it recreates the atmosphere of a time-honored Japanese ramen shop.
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya is located at 1482 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago. For more information, please visit their website.