Update, May 10: Thien Ho of the Panda restaurant group said the latest projection for an opening date has moved to July. “Currently, we’re looking at a mid- to late-July timeframe for the grand opening,” she told Berkeleyside.
Original story: The much anticipated opening of ramen restaurant Ippudo in downtown Berkeley is almost upon us.
The projected opening date is June 2, according to Michael Cadell of Panda Restaurant Group, co-owners of Ippudo. The build-out of the restaurant, at 2011 Shattuck Ave. (at University) in the co-working WeWork building, is nearing completion. On Monday, the last piece of scaffolding was removed from the restaurant’s façade, and passers-by peered with interest through the open front door into the restaurant’s interior.
Cadell said the current projected opening date is dependent on the completion of final inspections as well as staff training. A second Bay Area Ippudo, in San Francisco, is slated to open on Aug. 8.
Berkeley is the first West Coast location for Ippudo, which describes itself as a “Japanese ramen noodle brasserie.” The restaurant is in the same building, and next door to, Berkeley’s first Blue Bottle Coffee shop which appears to be doing brisk business.
Originating in Japan, Ippudo has restaurants across Asia and Australia, as well one in London and two in Manhattan. It has something of a cult-like following in New York City, with lines out the door as a regular feature. Ippudo was founded in 1985 by Shigemi Kawahara with, according to its website, an emphasis on Tonkotsu (pork-based) ramen and a wood-centric interior design.
In 2015, the operator of Hakata Ippudo (to give it its full name), Fukuoka-based Chikaranomoto Holdings, formed a joint venture with California’s Panda Restaurant Group, known for its fast-casual Chinese chain Panda Express. The venture, I&P Runway, has plans to roll out many more Ippudo restaurants, according to industry reports.
It’s probably safe to assume the new Berkeley ramen destination will be a hit. The response to Berkeleyside’s January 2016 story breaking the news that Ippudo was coming to Berkeley was so high that it became one of our ten most popular stories of the year.