If it feels like forever ago that you heard a ramen shop would take over the Ghana Cafe space in Logan Circle, you’re not wrong. JINYA Ramen Bar first announced plans for its second D.C. area outpost in 2015, following its Northern Virginia debut in Mosaic District. Washingtonians can finally get their fill of piping hot noodle bowls and pitchers of Sapporo beer on 14th Street NW starting Sept. 25. The first 100 guests in line get a free bowl of ramen.
The first JINYA Ramen Bar in the U.S. opened in California, but the national chain with restaurants in 10 states actually got its start in Tokyo. Founder Tomonori Takahashi, the son of a Japanese pub owner, opened the first JINYA in Japan’s largest city in 2000. When he moved to California, America’s ramen obsession was flickering, but not yet the white hot flame it is today.
JINYA specializes in tonkotsu ramen—an ultra rich pork broth famous in the city of Fukuoka on mainland Japan’s southern most island of Kyushu. It’s milky in appearance and sticks to your bones. Try the tonkotsu broth six different ways including the Cha Cha Cha for garlic lovers ($17.95) or the Tonkotsu Spicy ($15). Diners can decide whether they want their ramen mild, spicy, or hot.
There are also four chicken ramen preparations and two vegetarian options. The long list of add-on toppings range from vegetables like spinach and broccoli to proteins like beef sukiyaki and spicy ground pork, each for $3.25 or less. There’s more to the menu than ramen. Also try curry rice bowls, poke, and mini tacos. View the food menu here.
The drink menu includes a take on D.C.’s signature cocktail, The Rickey, that subs in sake for gin or bourbon. There are also more perplexing cocktails like the “Moonlight” that marries rum, coffee liqueur, pineapple juice, and coconut cream, and the “Dr. Jonnie” that contains vodka, soju, yogurt, Sprite, and a speared gummy bear garnish. All cocktails are $13.
Groups can share pitchers of Sapporo or Yuengling, and there’s also sake and wine. General Manager Hoang Nguyen, who comes to JINYA from Fiola Mare, says they’re trying to get their hands on a high ball machine from Suntory Whisky. View the drink menu here.
The 14th Street JINYA has two floors. Downstairs has two bars, each seating about 14 people, and there are a handful of tables. Upstairs is considered the main floor and has room for 80 to dine, including a 10-person communal table. An outdoor patio that seats about 20 will be enclosed in the winter. It’s for sipping cocktails and having snacks, not slurping ramen, according to Nguyen.
JINYA Ramen Bar will be open Sundays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., with the last call for noodles at 1:30 a.m. Weekday happy hour is from 4-7 p.m.
JINYA Ramen Bar, 1336 14th St. NW; (202) 588-8560; jinya-ramenbar.com/locations/detail/washington-dc-14th