Chef Luke Reyes is back in action after a long run of pop-up nights and one-off projects, with plans to open a dedicated noodle shop called 9th Street Ramen later this year in Downtown. The move into a brick and mortar space has been a long time coming for Reyes, who previously had planned to offer ramen up in Encino next door to Phillip Frankland Lee.
Reyes will have plenty of help in bringing 9th Street Ramen to life. Big-time Houston restaurateur Shawn Bermudez is onboard, as is clothing designer and longtime friend Devin Carlson. Bermudez has presided over a number of bar and restaurant openings in greater Houston for the past several years, but hails from Southern California and looks to return to his roots with the first slice of what could be a growing local hospitality empire.
As for the shop itself, it’s a small affair that takes over the former Chu’s Kitchen, which had survived since 1971. Now 9th Street Ramen will join newer names like Verve, next door’s Wood Spoon, Preux & Proper, and the Ace Hotel in anchoring those few blocks between South Park and the Historic Core. Reyes tells Eater that 9th Street will offer housemade noodles and broth, focusing on tonkotsu bowls as well as black ramen, which is little-seen in Los Angeles. To help learn the craft, Reyes will even be spending some time in Tokyo in the coming months.
As of now, 9th Street Ramen is on target for a late fall/early winter opening that will include beer and wine, though these things all have a way of changing. After that, expect Reyes — who was previously the chef at Butchers & Barbers in Hollywood, and the opening chef of The Corner Door in Culver City — to be in the kitchen nightly making bowls, with plans for more projects down the line.