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Award-Winning Ramen Chain Menya Jiro Expands into Harvard Square

Ramen restaurant Menya Jiro opened in the Crimson Galleria at 57 JFK St. this month.
Ramen restaurant Menya Jiro opened in the Crimson Galleria at 57 JFK St. this month. By Simon J. Levien
By Tracy Jiang and Davin W. Shi, Crimson Staff Writers

Award-winning Japanese ramen brand Menya Jiro celebrated the grand opening of its first Boston location in Harvard Square on July 14.

The new restaurant is located at 57 JFK St. within the Crimson Galeria, which is already home to Veggie Grill and The Maharaja, and is set to debut cannabis store Cookies in the near future.

While Menya Jiro first sought approval to expand into Harvard Square in late 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the grand opening of its newest location for a year, Andy Truong — owner of the Menya Jiro location in the Square — said in an interview.

The brand originated in 2010 in Ibusuki, a city located in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

The restaurant quickly gained popularity for its customizable ramen bowls, which allow customers to select from a variety of protein and vegetable options.

The broth of Menya Jiro’s signature ramen combines tonkotsu — “pork bones” in Japanese — and chicken, according to its website. Chefs at Menya Jiro add fried onions and garlic to the ramen noodles before serving it to customers to enhance the dish’s umami flavor.

Menya Jiro celebrated the grand opening of its first Boston location in Harvard Square on July 14.
Menya Jiro celebrated the grand opening of its first Boston location in Harvard Square on July 14. By Simon J. Levien

Menya Jiro won an annual street ramen competition held in New York City twice, in 2016 and 2017. It also gained recognition from Thrillist – a website that covers food, drink, entertainment, and travel – as one of the “Best Ramen Restaurants in America.”

Menya Jiro joins Santouka, another Japanese ramen chain, in Harvard Square.

Truong said that he and his wife decided to open the Harvard Square location because of its proximity to the University.

“Harvard is a very good location because of [its] reputation and college students,” he said. “We’ve been here almost every week and we see how busy it is.”

Truong noted that the most popular dish at the restaurant since its grand opening has been the spicy Sakurajima ramen, named after an active volcano in Japan.

Menya Jiro's spicy Sakurajima ramen dish.
Menya Jiro's spicy Sakurajima ramen dish. By Simon J. Levien

“We have our own noodle maker machine, so basically all our noodles are fresh [and] made daily,” he added. “That’s really much different from other ramen stores.”

Truong said he wanted to thank students and Cambridge residents for their support over the past two weeks.

“We got a lot of support from the students and the people around here. It was very good, packed almost every night. It was so crazy,” he said. “So thank you to them for that. We really appreciate the support that this neighborhood has for our restaurant.”

—Staff writer Tracy Jiang can be reached at tracy.jiang@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @_tracyjiang_.

—Staff writer Davin W. Shi can be reached at davin.shi@thecrimson.com.

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