In the beginning, there was a yearning need to output my growing frustrations on being solely known as the creator of the Ramen Burger. Or so I thought.
Instinctively, I always just wanted to be a ramen freak. Then, with Ramen Burger at its prime, I chose to follow my heart, like I always have.
What began as a pop up idea that never materialized at my friend Neil Syham’s Lumpia Shack on the days he didn’t open (hence the name Ramen Shack), the concept of Ramen Shack 屋台 started gaining momentum. For several months, I envisioned a ramen shop that could finally portray the joys of my passion. For several months, it remained just a figment of my imagination.
Then, in the summer of 2015, through the power of Smorgasburg I was able to translate imagination to fascination as Ramen Shack took shape in unfamiliar territory. Although the Queens Smorgasburg only lasted half a season, I became infected with the pure joy of being able to serve delicate bowls of evolving ramen every week to those who embraced a simple comfort.
After a successful move to Winter Smorgasburg at Industry City in the Winter of 2015, we finally landed at Lumpia Shack in the West Village, carrying out the intended concept of popping up every Sunday and Monday. But that didn’t last very long and for months the pop up went dormant, giving way to another concept called Tsukemen NYC. Ramen Shack was over. Or was it?
Sixteen months after our last pop up, Ramen Shack was reopened as a “permanent pop up” in Long Island City on September 27, 2016. It was a dream come true. For the next two and a half years it became my creative outlet. My ramen force. My ramen reckoning. If you had the chance to experience it evolve throughout those years, you’ve probably never seen a ramen shop like it. I was possessed!
“When is this pop up going to end?” has been the question almost everyone has asked. In my mind…it was never going to end. In my mind…it was going to last forever. But in the end, I chose to follow my heart…