Perhaps you’ve noticed the national trend of ramen shops bleeding fast into the Twin Cities.
Restaurant veterans Chris Corlett and Tryg Truelson have, too, and they’re making a bet that the noodle-and-broth movement is about to go mainstream.
The pair, who worked together at Truelson’s former Tryg’s restaurant in Uptown, plan to debut Rah’mn — a fast and casual build-your-own ramen eatery — in St. Paul in February.
“I think we can expand to a broader audience,” said Corlett, a Minneapolis native who most recently worked in high management roles at luxury hotels in Southern California. “I think the hallmarks of our brand are really the trends that are going to push through this industry and make restaurants relevant for the next 10, 20 years.”
Those trends include speed, convenience, value, the ability to customize orders and the use of fresh, healthful ingredients, according to Corlett, who will be directing the menu.
Rah’mn (300 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul, rahmn.online) will feature a format similar to that of Chipotle, where customers walk through a line at the counter and choose their ingredients. The casual restaurant will offer a variety of eight-hour broths, including vegan options, for ramen bowls — but Corlett is careful not to label it “Japanese food.” Gluten-free noodles are available, as well. And Rah’mn will also be serving noodle salads and green salads with kale, spinach and romaine on hand.
“We’re not compromising quality at all,” Corlett said. “All of our broths are going to be made fresh … all of our ingredients are going to be prepared fresh — none of this is pre-prepped, none of this is stock cubes. This is purely quality through preparation and time.”
Rah’mn will offer online ordering and takeout and serve its dishes in eco-friendly disposable containers, but Corlett and Truelson are also hoping to cater to eat-in customers. The dining room seats 30, and beer and wine will be available.
“We don’t want it to feel like a Subway,” Corlett joked.
“But I think this represents some trends that are here to stay. People want healthy, they want convenience, they want value. Our bowls start at $7.95. I think if you compared us to any other ramen shop in the Twin Cities, that’s 30 to 50 percent less than what they’re charging to get out the door. And you’re going to be able to walk through and get your food in three minutes.”
News around town
J. Selby’s (169 N. Victoria St., St. Paul, jselbys.com) owner Matt Clayton has revised the “plant-based” restaurant’s debut to late February or early March, due to construction forecasts. The restaurant will be entirely vegan. Portillo’s, a Chicago-based hot dog and sandwich chain, broke ground for a new Woodbury location (8450 Hudson Rd., portillos.com), its first Minnesota storefront, on Wednesday. Cochon 555, an annual pork culinary tour throughout the U.S., comes to Minneapolis’ Loews Hotel on Feb. 21. Tickets for the locally sourced feast starring Twin Cities chefs start at $125 and can be purchased at cochon555.com. The chef lineup includes Jorge Guzman (Surly Brewing Co.), Thomas Kim (The Rabbit Hole), J.D. Fratzke (Strip Club and Saint Dinette), Grae Nonas (Tullibee) and Justin Sutherland (Handsome Hog).
Tracy Singleton and Marshall Paulsen — the owner and chef, respectively, at Birchwood Cafe (3311 E. 25th St., Mpls., birchwoodcafe.com, 612-722-4474) — were featured in an eight-page recipe spread in the January/February edition of Midwest Living. Rustica Bakery & Cafe moves into the Wayzata location of Lunds & Byerlys Kitchen, which moves out.