With the ramen trend exploding downtown, one might wonder why Jenny Ko decided to open a noodle shop on a tiny sliver of street below the elevated subway platform at 125th and Broadway. “There was lack of good Asian food up here,” says Ko, who opened Jin Ramen with Ifan Chang, Jay Huang, Deepak Rajwani and managing partner Richard Kashida in February.
Sitting inside the restaurant with its sleek stylings—the walls are wooden beams that protrude out in haphazard fashion—you can see that more than a few passerbys stop for a second look. The partners knew the particular area in Morningside Heights—Jin shares the street with laundromats, pizzerias and take-out joints—wasn’t the most obvious place to open a ramen shop but knew they could rely on the area schools to bring some built-in customers. “You’ve got Columbia and the Manhattan School of Music and college kids know about ramen,” Ko says. Kashida adds “A lot of our customers are glad we’re here because they don’t have to travel downtown for a good bowl of ramen.”