The moment of the ramen burger — once a coveted dish that hundreds would line up for at Smorgasburg — may have passed. Creator Keizo Shimamoto will close his Long Island City restaurant the Ramen Shack at the end of the month, which he opened primarily as extra space for ramen burger prep.
When the restaurant opened in 2016, the ramen burger was still royalty among viral foods like the Cronut, and popular enough to spawn the tiny Queens restaurant with a few seats at 13-13 40th Ave., near 21st Street. But in the years since, restaurants have become so obsessed with reaching that level of internet fame that an entire business is now devoted to creating viral foods like rainbow-colored bagels and “unicorn” desserts.
At the Ramen Shack, ramen-obsessed Shimamoto would also serve different ramen styles like tsukemen, or dipping ramen, alongside the burger. At its peak, the restaurant had 17 different bowls on its menu, all of which pulled inspiration from the myriad of ramens the chef had eaten in Japan.
Yet this isn’t the first time one of his brick-and-mortar locations will close: Shimamoto opened a restaurant called Ramen Co. in the Financial District in 2014, as well as one in Los Angeles, but both have since shuttered. The chef now owns his own noodle company, Shimamoto Noodle.
The Ramen Shack, which served both new ramen creations and the burger, will close on March 31. For those who still want to eat the ramen burger, Shimamoto tells Eater that his creation will live on at Smorgasburg, starting in Brooklyn April 6 and in Manhattan April 12.