Josh and Abbey-Jo Eans are hoping to use their noodles. The husband and wife duo that own (and live above) Happy Gillis are looking to open the Columbus Park Ramen Shop in the adjacent garage space this summer. The spot, which previously hold the soup kitchen for Uncommon Stock (owner Todd Schulte sold it to them alongside of Happy Gillis last year), would become a true ramen noodle shop that also sells bone broth.
Chef Josh Eans will be dishing up a ramen pop-up this Friday at Tapcade in the Screenland Crossroads (1701 McGee Street, Suite 200). The Ramen & Craft Beer Dinner will be from 6 to 8 p.m. with a pork belly ramen with a soft poached egg and a paired beer. Tickets are $18. The Eans have also launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the CPRS, so we reached out via e-mail to find out more about the proposed eatery.
1. What’s in a great bowl of ramen? There are three parts to a great bowl of ramen: noodles, broth and garnish. And it’s only when each part is done excellently and married together that you get a beautiful bowl of delicious soup. We will use specific noodles that are designed for certain broths. For our broths, we will only use bones from heritage animals. They will be simmered for a long time until they’re just right. Garnishes will vary, but we know we will soft-poach and marinate eggs from Campo Lindo farms, and braise pork belly from heritage hogs. We will always focus on the quality of our ingredients.
2. What is it about ramen specifically that made you want to undertake this project? We love ramen because it is delicious and approachable. That is also our model for Happy Gillis, we want to make delicious food affordable and available to all. It all started with our attached garage space, and kicking around ideas for what we could do. It kept whispering “ramen” to us, so we answered. The space is perfect for it – small and unfussy. We believe that ramen is the perfect meal, all contained within a bowl. Noodle soups are deeply satisfying, and we wanted to bring the first Ramen Shop to Kansas City.
3. For those unfamiliar with a ramen shop, how is yours traditional and, in what ways is it your own take on the concept? First, I think you have to throw out what most people in America think of “ramen”. There are no instant noodles or salty packets. This is slow cooking served quickly. Fresh noodles, long simmered broths and unique seasonings.
We plan to serve some traditional Japanese ramen variations such as tonkotsu (rich pork broth), chicken, dashi and a delicious vegetarian option. I also hope to incorporate regional Midwestern flavors and ingredients into what we do. That’s what is so cool about Ramen in Japan – it’s regional, and varies depending on where you are. We are hoping to be able to capture some of that with our Ramen.
4. With Happy Gillis, you’ve been able to dive into craft beer with the Beer Dinner series. Can you talk a bit about what you plan to stock and serve in the Columbus Park Ramen Shop? Yes! We are planning on serving only canned craft beer. Probably 100% American craft beer. I love hoppy beer with ramen, so we may focus on that. We hope to source some interesting Japanese sodas too, but that’s pretty much it. We want this to be very simple and straightforward.
5. Will you be able to move forward with the idea even if the Kickstarter isn’t funded? Who knows what will happen – right now we don’t have a firm backup plan. We believe in the community and in Kansas City, so we have put all of our eggs into one basket with the Kickstarter. We have put ourselves out there and we are ‘all in’ with this project. I guess we will cross that bridge if we come to it. We’ve had so much initial support and love from KC, and we are so grateful to everyone. Here’s to some great Ramen.