Sometimes called the world’s ultimate comfort food, traditional Japanese ramen is now at home in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins.
Gaku Ramen opened July 19 at 223 Linden St., serving a taste of Japan that the ramen shops of Tokyo inspire.
Gaku Ramen is the passion project of three friends – Ryan Goldstein, Michael March, and David Stone – who developed a taste for authentic ramen and wanted to bring it to life in the United States. Ryan and Michael were living in Tokyo when they first hatched the idea of opening a “real ramen restaurant” stateside in an energetic college town, where they believed they could find a receptive audience. David – the college roommate of Ryan’s who lives in Vermont – was looped into the conversation, and the trio launched their first Gaku Ramen in 2016 in Burlington, Vt.
Three years after opening the flagship restaurant in Burlington, the second Gaku Ramen opened in Boulder in 2019. And the owners see many of the same attributes in Fort Collins that make Gaku Ramen a hit in Burlington and Boulder.
The Japanese term “gaku” translates to “learning” or “education.” The founders want to embrace college towns’ character, energy, and vibrancy and show city residents about authentic Japanese flavors.
“We like the mix of demographics and the student population,” Goldstein shared from his home in Tokyo. “We also like Old Town’s mix of tenants and how the city recently renovated Linden Street.”
Fittingly, the new restaurant will open in the former home of Suehiro, a popular Japanese restaurant, for more than three decades before it closed in 2016.
“We believe Gaku Ramen is the only ramen restaurant that serves the authentic Japanese style ramen – ours it is not an Americanized version,” explained Kelley Jones of Trust3 Hospitality, principal of the management company for Gaku Ramen. “In fact, two ramen masters came from Tokyo to design the menu and train the flagship restaurant’s team in Vermont,” Jones said.
Gaku Ramen only uses the freshest ingredients and focuses on the authenticity of what is in the bowl and on the plate. The full-service restaurant will serve six different styles of ramen, signature rice bowls, as well as its popular signature appetizers like gyoza, chicken karrage, and their Gaku Bao Buns with pork, chicken, or tofu.
The 2,500-square-foot restaurant seats 68 people inside and eight outside and will employ around three dozen team members when fully staffed. Gaku Ramen will be open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. nightly.
Learn more about Gaku Ramen at gakuramen.com.