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Shoki Ramen House opens its second location

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Japanese couple Kathy and Yasushi Ueyama officially opened their second location of Shoki Ramen House on R and 12th streets May 3.

R Street location
The new location has an outdoor patio and enclosed parking and can hold roughly twice as many customers as the 24th Street location.

The menu will remain the same at the new location providing a variety of made-from-scratch ramen, including shuyo, shio and tan tan men spicy ramen.

Yasushi has 20 years of cooking and restaurant experience under his belt. Born and raised in Japan, he owned four restaurants during the time the couple lived in Kobe, Kathy Ueyama said.

According to Kathy Ueyama, the couple moved back to Sacramento in 2001, and though Yasushi continued work as an owner/chef in the Japanese food industry, he really wanted to do something different.

Yasushi Ueyama always had an interest in ramen. Many of his friends and colleagues told him that it was a bad idea to open a ramen restaurant because they said they thought it would not be well-received and the weather was too hot for it. But despite their opposition, the original Shoki Ramen House opened in the summer of 2007.

Yasushi Ueyama’s vision for the restaurant was to create a healthy dish for every customer, from babies to the elderly. Kathy Ueyama said she believed this was what really set them apart from other places and that it was likely that was how they were able to slowly draw in such a strong and loyal clientele.

The ramen house grew beyond their expectations. Kathy Ueyama recounted how sometimes, especially during the winter, they’d have people waiting outside in the cold and sometimes rainy weather for an hour or more for just one bowl.

Since 2007, Kathy Ueyama said the business had steadily grown, and it was situations such as the one described above that really pushed them to open up the second location. The 24th Street and 2nd Avenue location had a max capacity of 20 people, and it became clear that they needed a bigger venue to accommodate larger parties.

While the couple hesitated at taking on the responsibility of opening a new location, Kathy Ueyama said the whole thing kind of just fell into place. She noted that when she and her husband looked into locations for the first store, the R Street location was actually one they really liked, but it just didn’t work out.

“When the R Street location became available in January, it was the final sign needed to push us to open up another location. We felt it was all meant to be,” she said.

Each bowl of ramen is made of a broth, noodles, finishing sauce or tare and toppings. The process of making each bowl is much more complicated than most people think, she added.

Small shio ramen
“The original soup base is actually made of a blend of three different types of broth. We call it our triple soup and from that, with the use of a finishing sauce or tare, we can achieve the various other flavors on the menu. Yasushi also makes a vegetarian and vegan broth separately.”

It’s very important to Yasushi Ueyama that the expansion not affect the taste of the food at all, his wife said. Other than the location and extended hours, nothing else will change.

Yasushi does his best to make sure of that, doing all the cooking for both locations, said Kathy Ueyama. She said he gets minimal sleep, waking up very early to prepare the broth for each location and going back and forth as needed throughout the day.

Quality is really important to Yasushi, Kathy Ueyama said. He is the only person who knows exactly what goes into every bowl sent out. Most of the ingredients are imported from Japan, and only local produce is used.

“Also, everything is made from scratch. From the broth to the tare, to the chili sauce, everything, even the noodles. Our noodle company makes the whole-wheat noodles to his specifications,” Kathy Ueyama said.

When asked about opening a third venue, Kathy Ueyama said it was too soon to tell.

“Yasushi looks into all possibilities as to how he can share his passion of cooking with more and more people, but it depends on a lot of things,” she said. “If an opportunity arises and the current situation asks for it, it’s a possibility, but it is very important to keep the same quality and expectations, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

In addition to the ramen favorites, there are also a number of side dishes and appetizers to choose from, such as edamame and spicy menma (bamboo shoots). The ramen bowls range from $5.90 to $9.90, with additional costs for extra toppings.

The restaurant will be open seven days a week. Monday through Friday, lunch will be from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and dinner from 5:30 – 10 p.m. Saturday lunch is from noon – 3 p.m. and dinner is from 5 – 10 p.m. Sunday, the restaurant is open all day from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

For more information on the the newest location, call 441-0011.

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