Chicago’s booming ramen scene is getting multiple additions from up north. Kinton Ramen, a popular Canadian chain that began in Toronto in 2012, is planning to open multiple Chicago restaurants as well as some in the northeast in early 2019, according to Kinka Family’s US vice president of operations John Tirch. Two Chicago restaurants are confirmed for 900 W. Fulton Market and 1426 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park.
Kinton, part of Japanese-focused restaurant group Kinka Family, has wowed Canadian diners with executive chef Aki Urata’s customizable pork or chicken ramen bowls, plus izakaya-style small plates including rice bowls, karaage fried chicken, gyoza, and more. Existing locations also serve beer, sake, and wine. The chain has nine locations in Toronto and Ontario, three in Montreal and Quebec, one in Tokyo and four in Korea.
The Chicago restaurants will be very similar to the existing Canadian Kinton locations, Tirch says. The main difference is the Chicago spots will serve a broader selection of appetizers.
The company picked two neighborhoods that are already flush with ramen for its initial Chicago restaurants. The Wicker Park spot, which takes over a space that was formerly home to the Brooklyn Industries retail shop, will be the fourth ramen restaurant in roughly two blocks. It will compete with Furious Spoon, Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, and Oiistar in the neighborhood. And Fulton Market/West Loop is already home to popular ramen spots High Five Ramen, Ramen Takeya, and Ramen-san.
Stay tuned for more details surrounding the openings.