Yasushi is a man with many talents. His past experiences, mentors and customers have fueled his passion for many decades. After the fire at 21st Street in 2017 and closing the R-Street location in May 2021, Yasushi spent his time reflecting on his past, both the good and bad. When he first opened a restaurant in America, he endured the cultural shift of catering to new customers with little to no exposure to true authentic Japanese food. With the emotions, experiences and lessons that he learned from opening his first restaurant in America, he started experimenting with ramen, a classic Japanese staple dish. Still to this day, ramen has a reputation of being unhealthy and unable to truly enjoy the soup until the last drop. With that, Yasushi took on a challenge of using his nutritional knowledge and chef experience to create a bowl of ramen that was: healthy, accommodated any dietary need, and enjoyable to the last drop. Fast forward to 2023, he has done that, better than ever. But the journey to his ramen today was no easy mission.
As the mad scientist Yasushi is, he spent countless hours creating a “perfect” bowl of ramen. But to him, he has never created a “perfect” bowl of ramen because there is always something he can fix. His ramen isn’t just a written recipe of ingredients and methods, but a personal touch that no one is able to recreate. This was a struggle for Yasushi as he was trying to expand Shoki and expose as many people to his ramen. Letting go of this significant part of creating HIS ramen was hard. However, he didn’t let that stop him. He created ways to streamline his process while producing high quality dishes that aligned with his concepts. Many of our regular customers that transitioned from 24th Street to R-Street to now 21st Street, knows and sees the difference in each bowl of ramen.
While Yasushi has reopened 21st Street, there is another layer of the story that hasn’t been revealed yet. Many of our OG customers from 24th Street have now been coming for over a decade where they’ve created a special bond to his ramen that is irreplaceable. This bond goes beyond the flavor and taste of the ramen; it takes people back to uncreatable memories and traditions. As Yasushi is telling me (Ietetsu) the many stories of his customers, it’s truly heartwarming to Yasushi that he’s created something that people have attached a memory to and is able to relive it through a bowl of ramen. This is the reason why he decided to reopen 21st Street. It wasn’t about the profit, it was about creating a space he can bring his extended family (you all) to enjoy a bowl of ramen and relive, create new memories and continue writing your story of Shoki Ramen.
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