You can order a bowl of ramen in Dallas or Fort Worth from a star of Netflix show ‘Chef’s Table’
If you’ve watched Chef’s Table on Netflix and pretended to be enjoying some of the world’s finest restaurants from the comfort of your couch, you can now order food from Ivan Ramen in New York City in Dallas and Fort Worth. Restorer Ivan Orkin sells bowls of tonkotsu and shoyu ramen for delivery and collection near Uptown Dallas, Preston Hollow in Dallas, and parts of Fort Worth.
The food is sold from a ghost kitchen, which means that Ivan Ramen has worked with three existing D-FW restaurants. The pasta and broth are Orkin’s recipes put together at Blue Sushi Sake Grills in Dallas and Fort Worth.
Orkin and Nick Hogan, CEO of Blue Sushi’s parent company Flagship Restaurant Group, have signed an agreement to sell Ivan Ramens groceries in kitchens in Kansas City, Denver, Cleveland, Austin, Dallas and other countries. Currently, Ivan Ramen is only available from eight locations in Nebraska and Texas. The others are coming soon.
“We may have had conversations with Ivan in the last five years,” says Hogan. “It has gotten a lot of press and is very well known for what a really interesting story and a great product.”
Orkin joins many celebrity chefs who stepped into the ghost kitchen game during the coronavirus pandemic. Guy Fieri, the star of the Food Network, has five ghost kitchens in North Texas. Netflix boss David Chang has two. Even comedian George Lopez plans to sell delivery tacos under his name in D-FW from June.
Hogan believed his restaurant group, which operates 23 brick and mortar stores, could help Ivan Ramen’s two restaurant business grow. And Orkin was receptive, especially since one of his ramen stores in New York City was closed during the pandemic.
“Restaurants are hard,” says Orkin. “If you disappear, people will forget you.”
Starting the ghost kitchens with Hogan “gave me hope,” says Orkin, “that I wasn’t just sitting in my bedroom feeling sorry for myself. I have actively expanded my business. “
Chef Ivan Orkin opened his first ramen shop in Tokyo. “This move seemed doomed to fail in a country where ramen enjoy cult status,” the restaurant’s website said. But the concept worked and customers lined up to eat his meal. Orkin now lives in New York City and was featured on Netflix’s “Chef’s Table” in 2017. He runs an Ivan Ramen shop; a closed center of the pandemic. (Daniel Krieger Photography)
On the Netflix show Chef’s Table, Orkin is an obsessed student of ramen who lived in Japan for about 20 years. He’s a great speaker with a bad mouth: One of the first things he says on the Netflix special is, “I’m kind of a go [expletive] you are a guy “
“Ramen is not delicate. It’s salty and greasy and explosively aromatic. It’s full of umami. It’s high in calories. And it’s messy. So you’re a bit like [expletive] es: I will eat ramen. “
For years, Hogan thought Ivan Ramen would fit the Blue Sushi brand.
“He’s the white of ramen and we’re kind of the white of sushi,” says Hogan. “We all respect the cuisine and love the culture, and I think the brands work together.”
Customers who want a taste of Ivan Ramen can order online for delivery or pickup. The ghost kitchen also sells steamed pork buns, flavorful kyuri pickles, Japanese beer, and five types of sake. All of Ivan Ramen’s ghost kitchens use ramen noodles from Sun Noodles in New Jersey, the same company that supplies Orkin’s New York store.
Selling ramen noodle for pick-up or delivery was once a controversial topic among chefs. The pasta could be damaged.
Most of the items on Ivan Ramens’ menu for haunted kitchen delivery and collection in Dallas and Fort Worth are ramen bowls like this one. Other options include steamed pork buns, flavorful kyuri pickles, Japanese beer, and sake. (Daniel Krieger Photography)
“I have to admit, I was very adamant about delivery years ago because noodles are so delicate and because it’s so hard to make sure they taste right,” says Orkin. “But early on in New York, all of my partners convinced me that New Yorkers really wanted a delivery. And Americans, on the other hand, love to deliver groceries. “
Ivan Ramens noodles are boiled and then shocked in cold water. They are tossed in a bit of fat so they don’t clump together, then packaged separately from the broth, Orkin says.
“It’s remarkable how good it is,” he says.
His food was first available on February 17th in Fort Worth, then on March 10th in Preston Hollow, and on March 24th in Uptown Dallas. This is Orkin’s first time making a ghost kitchen.
And of the 30 restaurant owners featured in the episodes of Chef’s Table, Orkin is the only person selling groceries from kitchens in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“This gave me the opportunity to get my food to people across the country,” Orkin says. It also forced him to solidify his sales process, which includes shipping Japanese ingredients to all corners of the US.
That “puts us in a great place to expand the ghost kitchen or open a brick and mortar,” Orkin says.
In fact, Orkin and Hogan are jointly opening a full-service ramen shop in Arizona. Will one be next in Texas then?
“Nothing is colored,” says Hogan, “but we are actively looking for opportunities. … We’re all kind of in Texas. And we’re all with Ivan. “
Ivan Ramen is a ghost kitchen operated by three Blue Sushi Sake Grills in Dallas-Fort Worth: 7859 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas; 3220 McKinney Ave., Dallas; and 3131 W. 7th St., Fort Worth. Details on ordering Ivan Ramen in D-FW can be found here.