Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya will open their second Chicago restaurant in Lincoln Park's NEWCITY at 1457 N. Halsted St. (space A112) on Friday, January 25. Founded in 2003 in Japan, Kizuki has over 20 locations in Tokyo, eight in the Pacific Northwest and additional locations in Indiana, Australia and Taiwan. Kizuki's first Midwest location opened in Wicker Park in March 2016.
For the grand opening on January 25, Kizuki will give away 100 FREE bowls of their Tokyo Shoyu Ramen starting at 11:30 a.m. and available first come, first served. Additionally, anyone who dines at either Kizuki Chicago location through Thursday, February 28 will be entered for a chance to win a grand prize of airfare for one to Tokyo.
Although Kizuki is a growing global brand, partner Kevin Yu said, "Kizuki's main focus is to be engaged with the local community as much as possible. "Our passion is to share Japanese culture locally while providing diners with a taste of authentic Japanese ramen without having to fly to Tokyo for the experience." In September 2018, Kizuki organized the first Chicago Japanese Matsuri which brought about 8,000 visitors to the festival in NEWCITY's plaza where they experienced Japanese street food and arts, martial arts, Taiko drumming and more. Locals should expect more special events at the new restaurant in partnership with the Japanese Culture Center, which is also in Lincoln Park.
Recreating the atmosphere of a time-honored Japanese ramen shop while integrating their focus on the local community, Kizuki adapts each location's design to the specific neighborhood. The interior of the restaurant and its open kitchen concept are meant to provide a cultural, one-of-a-kind experience for customers. With a design inspired by the beauty of the lake and Lincoln Park, Kizuki's master designer created 3-dimensional wall art made from chopsticks that features a Lake Michigan wave. The art will be displayed directly above the noodle bar as a focal point for the restaurant. All furniture and décor have been sourced from and crafted in Asia.
With seating for 55 guests, Kizuki will also offer a noodle bar plus a bar with additional seating for nine. For the warmer months, Kizuki will have patio seating for 15 diners in the NEWCITY plaza. Yu explains that they designed the layout to be accommodating of Lincoln Park's large population of young families. "Our furniture is specially designed for group or family outings. Our booths will be lower and wider to accommodate booster seats for families with young children."
FOOD AND BEVERAGE MENU
With a slightly larger bar and more draft lines, the Lincoln Park restaurant will have more beer options than their Wicker Park counterpart. Kizuki will offer imported Japanese drafts along with local craft beers that pair well with Asian cuisine like Saboo, an Asian craft beer out of Indiana, and Forbidden Root. According to Yu, "Every single draft offered has been specifically chosen because of its ability to complement the Asian dining experience."
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya offers customizable, made-to-order ramen dishes featuring a variety of broths, toppings, and five different types of noodles including the Chuka, Tonk, Tsukemen, Shirataki and Kale noodle. The menu combines fresh, locally-sourced ingredients with items from Japan like fish flakes, kelp and yuzu (Japanese citrus). Kizuki makes four ramen broths from scratch daily in-house.
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 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, Gyoza, Takoyaki Octopus Dumplings, Japanese Pork Bun, Prawn Cutlet, Vegetable Tempura and more. The complementary beverage program will offer a Japanese whiskey, sake, and craft beer selection.