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Now Open Ramen Wicker Park

"Irashaimasen!" a traditional Japanese greeting which means "welcome to our store," is the first thing guests will hear when they walk into Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya. This is the first Midwest location for Kizuki (formerly Kukai Ramen & Izakaya), opened for lunch and dinner daily at 1482 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park on Friday, March 4. Their goal is to provide Chicagoans with a taste of authentic Japanese ramen without having to fly to Tokyo for the experience.

Founded in 2003 in Japan, Kookai Ramen grew to over 20 locations in Tokyo and was then brought over to the United States in 2012 as Kukai Ramen & Izakaya. In order to achieve greater flexibility in entering upcoming new markets, the brand name was later changed to Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in December 2015.Kizuki currently has four locations in the Pacific Northwest including three in Washington and one in Oregon.

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Takoyaki Octopus Dumplings

Kizuki offers customizable, made-to-order ramen dishes featuring a variety of broths, toppings, and four different types of noodles ranging in price from $9 to $15. The menu combines fresh, locally sourced ingredients with special ingredients from Japan such as fish flakes, kelp and yuzu (Japanese citrus).

Kizuki makes their four different types of ramen broths from scratch in-house daily and they ensure that the kitchen staff finishes plating each ramen bowl within one minute and 30 seconds to give customers enough time with the hot broth before it cools down.

There are 12 bowls of ramen on the menu, ranging from Garlic Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen, the restaurant's spin on the ultra rich and porky Hakata-style soup, to Chicken Ramen and Tsukemen Dipping Noodles, most available in traditional and low-sodium versions. Highlights include 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 unique, refreshing ramen unlike the traditional ramen stereotype of meaty and creamy.

The menu also features 18 small plates including Chicken Karaage, Chicken Wings, Japanese Pork Bun, Prawn Cutlet and more that range from $3.50 to $9.50. The complementary beverage program will offer Japanese whiskey including Iwai and Akashi, over 25 different kinds of sake, and craft beer selections including Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin, Yo-Ho Brewing, Swan Lake IPA and more.


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