From left, Taro Kawai, Ryan Ah Tye and Lance Benggon opened Brothers Ramen and Japanese Eatery Oct. 21. Photo by Edward Smith
Written by Edward Smith
Foodies have another option for a taste of Tokyo with the opening of a new ramen shop in north Fresno Oct. 21.
Brothers Ramen and Japanese Eatery became the united goal of three partners, Ryan Ah Tye, Lance Benggon and chef Taro Kawai. Near River Park, at the northwest corner of Blackstone and Nees avenues, customers can order the signature noodle soup, along with Japanese-style fried chicken or even Baos — Asian-style tacos served on a steamed bun, with various proteins along with scallions and teriyaki sauce. The restaurant stays open until 11 p.m., a time the trio didn’t see most restaurants staying open, outside of fast food options.
“We thought it would be nice to have a place you can get a chicken bowl instead of a burger or a burrito,” Ah Tye said.
For now, Brothers Ramen is focusing on two styles of ramen broth, tonkotsu and shoyu. Ramen is prep heavy, and making the tonkotsu broth takes up to 12 hours of simmering. Ah Tye says they wanted to start with something Fresno crowds are familiar with before venturing out into the seemingly limitless approaches to the preparation of the soup that he calls “Japanese soul food.”
This is the first restaurant for Ah Tye, who handles the business end. He graduated from Fresno State with a business degree with a specialty in accounting. Benggon handles management. Kawai, however, comes from a restaurant family and has been in the industry for more than 30 years.
Though born in the United States, Kawai worked at his mother’s restaurant in Japan before returning to Fresno.
The three partners, who liken themselves to “brothers” — hence the name — have been to Japan several times on business ventures. The goal for them now is to export the “amazing” food there and bring it to the Central Valley.