Voter turnout was a bit low for the championship compared to other rounds, perhaps a product of the Easter weekend. The championship brought out 5,940 votes, as Yusho earned a 54 percent to 44 percent win over Slurping Turtle.
Yusho owner/chef Matthias Merges is thrilled about the recognition. After talking to some of the ramen shops in the bracket, it's clear that Chicago has a thriving ramen community built on respect between restaurants, not competition. That's not lost upon Merges.
"It's not about who's ramen is the best, it's about getting together and sharing love of dining at the table," Merges said.
Merges compared ramen and izakaya's popularities in Chicago to how sushi was viewed about 20 years ago. Ramen provides a "wonderful palette" for creativity, as chefs can utilize local farmer's markets and individual tastes to put unique spins on the dish, Merges said.
Meanwhile, Yusho is celebrating the win with free soft serve to diners who order ramen and mention the Ramen Battle tonight. The offer's good at Yusho's two locations.
Thanks to all who participated in the fun, proving that any day is better with a big bowl of broth and some noodles. Check out all of the bracket's results here.