Long Island City Eatery Serves Bagels by Day, Ramen by Night
HUNTERS POINT — It's a hole new take on ramen.
A bagel store in Hunters Point is getting a new identity as a part-time pop-up ramen shop, as a New York City chef borrows the space at night to serve up his tasty noodles.
Joshua Smookler, whose resume includes Per Se and TriBeCa Japanese eatery Zutto, is teaming up with wife Heidy He to open Mu Ramen, a temporary pop-up at Bricktown Bagels on Vernon Boulevard, where they'll serve up noodles after-hours.
Mu Ramen will serve as a "limited run incubator," for the couple, who live in Long Island City and say they wanted to test the waters in the neighborhood, with the eventual goal of opening a permanent ramen eatery.
"We thought, 'Let's give it a try and and see if there's any demand for it,'" He said. "This is really a tentative beginning."
They started looking around for a small work space and settled on Bricktown Bagels because its owner was supportive of the idea, and because the bagel store closes at 5 p.m. Mu Ramen will open for business at 6 p.m.
The couple said they got the idea of opening a restaurant after moving to Hunters Point this year and noticing that there wasn't a designated ramen shop in the neighborhood.
"My wife and I felt like there was a need for ramen," said Smookler, who is also working to open another restaurant in south Williamsburg.
The menu includes starters like edamame, fried oysters and two kinds of steam buns — pork belly and short ribs.
The ramen dishes include a pork-based "Tonkotsu 2.0" and another made with a spicy miso broth.
He says Smookler has been working on a number of different recipes, and they plan to expand the menu and offer rotating specials.
"We're really, really excited to showcase the new taste that he has developed," she said.
Mu Ramen will open Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. at Bricktown Bagels, 51-06 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City. Hours of operation this week will be Wednesday through Saturday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will be Tuesday through Saturday beginning next week and after, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.