Montclair, N.J. — After gaining a cult following during its 2-year run as an exclusive, invite-only pop-up, pastaRAMEN is debuting its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Montclair, N.J., in early February. The first-ever Italian ramen shop marries Japanese and Italian cuisines in a style called “Wafu-Italian,” which blends ingredients, textures and techniques from both worlds.
“The response we received from our pop-ups in Seattle, Jersey City, Miami and Los Angeles was overwhelmingly positive, so when it became clear that there was an appetite for pastaRAMEN and this new type of cuisine, we knew we wanted to give the restaurant a permanent home in Montclair, New Jersey,” says Robbie Felice, co-founder and chef-partner. “As a chef, it’s incredibly rewarding to get to be creative and give people a dining experience they’ve never had before. Just imagine walking into an Italian ramen shop. That’s pastaRAMEN.”
pastaRAMEN is part of Montclair Hospitality Group, a chef driven, global hospitality company focused on curating unique restaurant brands and experiences. The elevated dining concept is a partnership between James Beard Rising Star Chef semifinalist Robbie Felice, chef-owner of the critically acclaimed Viaggio Ristorante and Osteria Crescendo, and Luck Sarabhayavanija, MHG’s founder who recently announced new additions, bringing on new CEO Joey Simons, previously of sbe and Blue Ribbon Restaurants.
pastaRAMEN was founded 2020 as a way to support restaurant staff during the pandemic and maintain the ability to dine in an intimate setting. The concept combines a love of Japanese and Italian food to define a new culinary category. Felice, who has worked in multiple Michelin-starred kitchens across the globe, helms the kitchen, while MHG helms operations.
“Our team at MHG has plans for explosive growth and rapid expansion throughout 2023,” says Simons. “As an incubator of chef-driven concepts, pastaRAMEN Montclair is the first of many new openings and chef partnerships that MHG has planned this year. We will be announcing additional pastaRAMEN restaurants and pop-ups in the coming months, along with exciting new MHG restaurant concepts as we continue to partner with the world’s leading chefs.”
Located about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan in downtown Montclair, pastaRAMEN seats up to 65 guests in an 1,800-square-foot space. Envisioned by local design firm Gidich + Sepulveda Architecture, the restaurant’s edgy interior brings a modern feel to the otherwise historic building. Walking through the wood-paneled entrance, guests are greeted by a vibrant, pop-art graffitied wall by local artist Victoria Poplaski, with playful nods to the team’s other restaurant concepts woven throughout its imagery. A second eye-catching mural, by Juan David Henao, pays homage to the streets of Tokyo, setting the scene for diners to be fully immersed during their meal. Black leather booths, natural wood textures, dim-lit ambiance and an open kitchen create dimension while staying true to pastaRAMEN’s speakeasy-style roots.
MHG currently operates in New York, New Jersey, California, Miami and plans to expand with new concepts in Boston, Las Vegas and Bellevue, Wash. For more information visit https://www.montclairhospitalitygroup.com.
SOURCE: Montclair Hospitality Group