Montclair Can’t Seem to Get Enough of Ani Ramen, and Ani Ramen Loves Montclair Right Back
With a motto like, “Slurp, Sip, and Repeat,” you can expect that an eating experience at Montclair’s Ani Ramen is going to bring the fun.
After the Bloomfield Avenue restaurant’s opening in 2014, Ani Ramen soon found a devoted fanbase within Montclair and the surrounding areas. On any given night, the restaurant will be packed with noodle eaters and soup slurpers, not to mention plenty of customers ordering the very popular pork bun appetizer.
Ani Ramen provides 6 types of ramen, including traditional pork broth, as well as an option for vegetarian ramen lovers. If you have yet to visit Ani Ramen, the atmosphere is fun, filled with conversation, as it is usually crowded during dinner. And make sure you are prepared to sit for a meal, as takeout or delivery are not available.
The Montclair Dispatch spoke with Luck Sarabhayavanija, a managing member of Ani Ramen, about the restaurant’s Montclair success.
Regarding Ani Ramen’s popularity, Luck said, “It’s very humbling. I’m so thankful that our Montclair regulars embraced us the way they did and still do. It’s crazy to think my first job was at Tuptim Thai Cuisine over 20 years ago. Fast forward to 2018, my mother’s restaurant Spice II has been here for almost 10 years and her next restaurant will be down the street. Montclair has always been my second home. I grew up in Bloomfield so it still feels like I’m just down the street. It’s the place where it all began for me. From my career that started here in Montclair as a busser, then to New York and Vancouver, to have it all come back here means a lot.
As a community, we are a one-stop shop. If you can’t decide just start at Pig & Prince and walk your way up Bloomfield Avenue. There’s nothing you can’t have here. NJ’s Food Capital for sure! So great to see operators from other towns actively looking for spaces here.”
When talking about Ani Ramen’s prime location, Luck explained that “All the lifelong friends I’ve made here. It started off by introducing myself and asking them to come in to buy a bowl. Now I have industry friends here that are truly family. Some are even investors in our upcoming projects. I’ve been to birthdays and even weddings from some of our loyal ramen lovers. How crazy is that? Someone comes in for a bowl of Ramen and a couple years later you’re sharing their best memory of their life with them. That’s gotta be the best part of this industry. You open up your place to strangers that become family that eventually open up their homes to you. Truly love you Montclair!”
Based on Ani Ramen’s immense success, I had to ask Luck about any future plans regarding his expanding brand. “We’re looking for similar downtowns like Montclair all over NJ to welcome us in. We have a small list of towns we’re currently working on and that we’d love to be in like Hoboken, Summit, Ridgewood, Morristown, South Orange & Maplewood.”
As an avid ramen lover myself, I am very happy that Ani Ramen touched down in Montclair, and has continued to succeed. It’s very special that Montclair can give back all of the love that Luck and Ani Ramen have for the town and its foodies.
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