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Amazon grocery? Maybe — A Capitol Hill Kyoto-style ramen joint? Tentenyu

Snuggled around the corner next to what just might be a new Amazon grocery store on Capitol Hill will soon be what is definitely another new ramen joint coming to Capitol Hill.

The company with the “exclusive license agreement” with a Japanese ramen legend is bringing Tentenyu’s Kyoto-style tori paitan ramen to Capitol Hill on Belmont Ave inside the preservation-boosted, sparkly-blue above old Mercedes dealership-brick AVA Capitol Hill development.

Here is the expansion pitch:

Back in 1971, TENTENYU was opened in Kyoto. The shop served thick white chicken broth ramen, which was not too common at that time. Kyoto people immediately loved this ramen. There was always a line of waiting customers at the shop. Soon after, other ramen shops started to open nearby to follow TENTENYU. Now, there are more than 30 ramen shops within a few blocks around TENTENYU. People started to call the area “Ramen Street” and it all started from TENTENYU. After 43 years, TENTENYU is still in operation and crowded with customers at the center of “Ramen Street”. Ramen fans respectfully call TENTENYU “ the root of Ramen Street.

The soon-to-open 1,100-square foot ramen, beer, and cocktail joint will be found beneath the old Mercedes logo sign still attached to the brick facade preserved under the Pike/Pine Conservation District’s incentive program. Around the corner on the E Pike side of the building, a mysterious 10,000 square-foot retail project is permitted but apparently on pause. While the developer won’t talk about the retailer CHS found Amazon connections including a program manager for the commerce giant on the paperwork. Meanwhile, a “bicycle gym” concept appears to be lined up the project’s E Pine commercial space. Yes, AVA Capitol Hill is large enough to have streetfront retail on both Pike and Pine.

A Tentenyu company representative we heard from way back last March as the project came together said the company’s ramen recipe is from Kyoto’s famed Ramen Street. The tori paitan ramen — white chicken broth-style made from pressure cooking poultry at a ratio of 110 pounds for every 100 bowls of ramen — from Tentenyu debuted with the company’s first restaurant in Los Angeles. They are busy working to expand to more locations including the new investment in Seattle.

“We love the atmosphere of Capitol Hill so we decided to open a restaurant in Capitol Hill,” the representative tells CHS. Simple enough.

According to permits, the Belmont-facing space will also have an “exterior terrace” dining area.

Ramen has played a growing role in the Capitol Hill cheap-er eats scene. Among the 36 new places to open up around the Hill in 2016 was little Ooink and its Malaysian roots with a focus on traditional Japanese preparations above the Harvard Market at Broadway and Pike. Others like the tonkotsu-style Kizuki on E Pine — which arrived in 2015 under the name Kukai — like Tentenyu have tended to be part of larger operations. And more are coming. Betsutenjin will bring the flavors of a world famous Japanese ramen creator via Hong Kong to E Union and 10th. With all this broth and noodles around, maybe Amazon picked the wrong business to get into.


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