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Ask Eater: What's the Deal with Ichiran?

An interesting request from the inbox yesterday:

"Eater should really launch a full-fledged investigation into the mysterious Ichiran Ramen of Greenpoint. I have never been so disappointed in my New York eating life. All I want is that ramen, and I can’t take not knowing what the deal is."
Excellent query, reader. What is going on with Ichiran, the hotly anticipated Japanese ramen import that was supposed to open in August '07?

Close readers will remember that back in January, signage promised it would open to members only, meaning "those living in the distance which walks from this shop.” And really...nothing has changed. The weird signage is still up, a clear plastic box holding membership applications still sits at the ready. But shopkeepers on both sides of the restaurant say they've never seen anyone come in or out. They've heard noise sometimes at night, but no diners. And Chowhounders who signed up for memberships back in January were left waiting for their invite months later. In sum: place is still a curious case. Luckily, half a dozen other new and worthy ramen joints have opened since '07.
· Ichiran Ramen Will Pre-Open As Members-Only Noodle Shop [GS]
· Plywood Special: Ichiran Ramen Falls in Love with Greenpoint [~E~]