Chefs Noel Cruz and Masa Takaku introduced Tampa to Latin-inspired ramen last year, and now they are planning to do the same for Birmingham. Ichicoro Ramen will open its food stall in The Pizitz Food Hall with the first dedicated ramen menu in the Birmingham market.
Ramen bowls will feature both meat and vegetarian broths, and other options will include rice bowls with brisket, pork or chicken, as well as specialty items like salmon. The noodles themselves are a proprietary recipe made for Ichicoro by Sun Noodles in New York. The stall will also have light snacks on the menu including steamed buns with add-ons such as toasted seaweed, bamboo shoots, or a poached egg.
During the decade he spent in New York, Cruz watched the ramen fad explode as he worked in Manhattan restaurants. A graduate of New York’s Culinary Institute of America, he worked several front-of-house positions, consulted on numerous projects with renowned chefs, and eventually opening his own restaurant, Elettaria.
His next venture took him to South Florida, where he had the support group of family and friends he had built throughout the years. He cultivated a team from New York to launch Ichicoro Ramen, the first restaurant of its kind in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa.
Cruz believes The Pizitz already has a great energy surrounding the project and is eager to join the eclectic mix of food and beverage establishments coming to the property.
Photos by Seamus Payne