Get your final noodle fix in now, because it looks like Ramen Champ in Chinatown will close permanently as of December 31.
The Far East Plaza mainstay has had a long, winding run at their second floor address. The restaurant first came to life under chef Alvin Cailan (who now runs Unit 120 downstairs), but was eventually turned over to the team behind Ramen Yokocho. They kept much the same menu (and graphics inside the space) for a while, before eventually flipping last summer into something new again: a takoyaki concept done in collaboration with Takoyaki Tanota.
Now the 22-seat restaurant will close for good on December 31, leaving a second story vacancy for some young entrepreneur to fill. The only other new food player on the second floor is Lao Tao, an awesome Taiwanese street food option, so getting some new life in that space would be a win for all. At least part of the reason for the shutter comes from chef Yoshimasa Kasai, who is set to return to Japan in the new year.
Luckily there is no shortage of good ramen in Los Angeles, with more coming every day. Tsujita is now open at the Americana in Glendale, Ramen Room is doing big things in the Valley, and everyone is still waiting for the official arrival of Ippudo Ramen to Santa Monica, which means even without Ramen Champ it’s still shaping up to be a noodle-riffic 2017. Expect the final service at Ramen Champ to be on December 31 for lunch.