Cult favorite Japanese ramen chain Ichiran is opening its biggest NYC location yet next week. The company — known for its eclectic solo dining booths and tonkotsu ramen — has planted a two-level location near Times Square, with room for more than 100 diners.
The new outpost, located at 152 West 49th St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues, unveils just the first floor of the restaurant to diners next Thursday, March 28th, with 65 seats. The lower level, seating 38 will open in April. As with other locations, tonkotsu ramen will be the primary dish, customizable by richness and other factors.
And like the outpost in Bushwick and further south in Midtown, this Ichiran will have solo dining booths, where slurpers are split by wooden dividers. Here, those dividers can be folded so that multiple people can eat together.
But the original pitch behind the chain is that founder Manabu Yoshitomi’s ramen is so good, people should eat it without the distraction of other human beings. Servers are called by pressing a button, versus having a conversation. That said, dining alone at Ichiran is not a staid affair; beeps, dings, and lights accent the meal, akin to being inside a ramen video game.
The ramen itself immediately ranked among the better tonkotsu options in pork broth-obsessed New York. The Times gave Ichiran one star for its “rounded and substantial” broth.
Ichiran, which has 75 locations in Asia, made its U.S. debut in Bushwick in 2016, with a line 200 people deep. The company has a noodle factory there, a way to expand locally without shipping noodles. Now, there’s also a location on 31st Street.
Correction: This post has been updated with different information from a restaurant spokesperson on the number of seats.