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A ramen restaurant with double-level booths.
Kyuramen, a popular Japanese chain, has opened its first Chicago location.
Chris Peters/Eater Chicago

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Inside Kyuramen, the Japanese Chain’s First Chicago Location

The restaurant boasts a beautiful design and the house special Mega Ramen

River North has a new ramen shop, part of an ongoing effort by Tony Hu to bring Asian chains to Chicago. Hu, the founder of Lao Sze Chuan, and his team welcome Kyuramen to Chicago in December, taking over the space vacated by Imperial Lamian on the corner of State and Hubbard.

Founded in 2014 by New York City entrepreneur Gary Lin, Kyuramen set out to highlight the regional character of ramen with varieties drawn from various parts of the country, such as Kyushu’s shio style, Tokyo’s shoyu style, and Hokkaido’s miso style. Lin has significant ambitions for the company and told reporters in 2020 that he hopes it will become the “Starbucks of ramen in the U.S.”

The corner of State and Hubbard has new signage.

Sure enough, Kyuramen has in recent years flourished into a prolific chain of franchise restaurants with more than 120 locations in Japan and the U.S. It first landed in Illinois in April 2022 with the debut of an outpost in suburban Oak Park, but Hu is the first restaurateur to bring Kyuramen to the city proper.

The ramen restaurant’s opening will at last bring diners back inside the former home of Imperial Lamian, a popular and well-regarded Chinese restaurant known for springy hand-pulled noodles and some of the best xiao long bao in town. The upscale, Indonesian-owned venue closed in November 2020 after more than four years in business and its building has sat dormant ever since.

Tbaar offers a variety of teas.
Tbaar also serves Thai iced tea.

In the photos below, walk through the space and check out the dishes, including the house special, Mega Ramen (pork chashu, shrimp, bamboo shoot, wakame, half-marinated egg, nori, corn, scallion). Kyruramen is open in tandem with Tbaar, a Brooklyn tea chain founded by Lin in 2006 in Brooklyn.

Tonkatsu curry ramen (tonkatsu, half-marinated egg, bamboo shoots, corn, wakame, scallions, nori)
Kyuraramen is known for its Mega Ramen (pork chashu, shrimp, bamboo shoot, wakame, half- marinated egg, nori, corn, scallion).
A boldly designed restaurant with hexancgle booths.
Innovative design allows booths to be stacked on top of each other.
Chris Peters/Eater Chicago
The space has been redone.
This is the back room interior, a holdover from Imperial Lamian.
Tokyo Tonkotsu Shouyu Ramen
An open-faced bao
Steamed pork bao buns
Takoyaki octopus balls
Four giant fried shrimp on a circular black plate.
Shrimp tempura.
Ika Geso karage (deep-fried squid)

Classic Omurice (fluffy omelet on top of chicken fried rice, topped with demi-glace.

Agedashi tofu (soft tofu that’s coated and deep-fried, topped with bonito, scallions served with Tsuyu sauce, and grated daikon).
Agedashi tofu (soft tofu that’s coated and deep fried, topped with bonito, scallions served with Tsuyu sauce, and grated daikon).
Chili Garlic Edamame
Chili-garlic edamame
Japanese cherry blossom jelly (top), matcha pudding (bottom)

Imperial Lamian

6 West Hubbard Street, , IL 60654 (312) 595-9440 Visit Website
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