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Japanese Ramen Icon Tatsunoya Planning Tonkotsu Shop in the Heart of Pasadena

And they're bringing lots of tonkotsu.

A possible Tatsunoya ramen location
A possible Tatsunoya ramen location
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Japanese ramen phenom Tatsunoya may well be headed for Los Angeles. The exceedingly popular tonkotsu specialists from Kurume, Kyushu, have been known to pop up at stateside events like the Ramen Yokocho festival, but a full-on location would be something else entirely.

Some papered-over window action in Pasadena at the old Bella’s Gourmet Pizza on Fair Oaks leads to this hit: an ABC license for Tatsunoya USA Corporation. The leading name on the paperwork is Mikitaka Nagamatsu, who himself is a principal in Tatsunoya Japan.

Unfortunately, there’s not much else by way of details at the moment — the pending ABC license for on-site beer and wine went live just a couple weeks ago — but all the indicators are there for a big Japanese ramen invasion, right in the heart of Old Town Pasadena, no less.

Already, the 16 year old ramen brand owns nearly half a dozen spots around Japan, and there’s certainly a market for broth-filled bowls of pork and noodle here in the Southland. And based on Tatsunoya’s popularity doing one-off events at Mitsuwa in Torrance or ramen festivals at Santa Anita over the years, there’s enough of a fanbase to keep a US-based location up and running.

Bella's Gourmet Pizza

700 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030