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Ramen Shop WakuWaku Walks Into Harvard Square

WakuWaku Ramen opened a new store in Harvard Square this week at 33 Brattle St.
WakuWaku Ramen opened a new store in Harvard Square this week at 33 Brattle St. By Santiago A. Saldivar
By Caroline K. Hsu and Sidney K. Lee, Crimson Staff Writers

WakuWaku Ramen & Sake celebrated its grand opening yesterday in an event featuring live music from a DJ and futuristic decor.

Located on 33 Brattle St., the Harvard Square location launched in a soft opening last Tuesday and is the second WakuWaku ramen establishment ever built. The first WakuWaku restaurant opened in the spring of 2021 in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood.

Along with a diverse selection of ramen and sake, the restaurant’s offerings include shaved ice, specialty salads, and chicken karaage.

On opening night, customers entered through the restaurant’s black curtains before being transported to what they called a “unique” and “cyberpunk” space adorned with neon lights. Local resident Efim Karlson wrote in a statement that it “felt like a full-size celebration” and that the food was “phenomenal.”

Classic electronic dance music hits played before DJ Tao, a Boston-based entertainer, took the stage later in the evening.

With a DJ setup on the second floor, Dixon Leung, operating partner in charge of Harvard Square’s WakuWaku, said that the restaurant has plans to host a DJ around two times a week.

“We are trying to provide a different vibe,” Leung said. “Younger, more futuristic, more nightlife-y — all mixed together.”

Leung said that Harvard Square was the ideal location to expand the restaurant chain because of its busy “college and tourist area.”

The Harvard Square location features a slightly different menu from the WakuWaku in Chinatown. Exclusive to the Harvard Square location is WakuWaku’s Lobster ramen, which Leung described as a “must-try.”

Jiaqi Zhu, a server at WakuWaku, said her favorite part of the job is the food. She particularly enjoys the restaurant’s gyudon, a Japanese beef rice bowl.

Hannah Tam, a research assistant at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a customer on the day after opening night, described the food as “not stellar, but okay.”

The restaurant felt like a nightclub but “in a weird way, because it’s 6 p.m.,” per Tam.

Leung said WakuWaku’s ramen is prepared in a “different” way from other ramen locations in the Square. The chicken and pork broth are boiled for 16 hours, without the use of MSG.

WakuWaku is also the only ramen shop in the Square which stays open until midnight.

When asked about his goals for the new restaurant, Leung said he hopes to “attract more people to hang out at WakuWaku, instead of just eating and going.”

Leung shared that the chain is looking at opening new locations in Central Square, Quincy, and potentially Allston.

The WakuWaku Ramen website mentions plans to build a chain of 500 locations in the United States in the next decade.

—Staff writer Caroline K. Hsu can be reached at caroline.hsu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineHsu_.

—Staff writer Sidney K. Lee can be reached at sidney.lee@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @sidneyklee

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