At less than 50 cents a package, Ramen noodles are the broke college student’s meal staple, along with macaroni and cheese. But Tochi, Milwaukee’s first Ramen noodle restaurant, will give hearty and unexpected twists to the quick and easy meal.
Tochi, whose name means “torch” in Japanese, celebrates its grand opening Friday, January 17 from 11 am to 9pm at 2107 East Capitol Drive in Shorewood, site of the former Anaba Tea Room. The restaurant will feature fun noodle menu items such as the Milwaukee Ramen-noodles, onions, brats, sauerkraut, and Wisconsin grass-fed beef, along with vegetarian Ramen dishes. Tochi will also serve a variety of sake, sake cocktails, many Wisconsin microbrews and Japanese beers. The restaurant is casual with a lot of Godzilla influences and Japanese 1950s cartoons decorating the walls. “We eschew pretention here,” said Tochi chef Gregg Des Rosier.
After traveling extensively through China and Vietnam, Des Rosier became quite familiar with Asian cuisine. Des Rosier, a chef for twenty-eight years, worked for several Wisconsin restaurants before he decided to open Tochi.
Des Rosier has been asked if people will be willing to go out to a restaurant for Ramen noodles when they can just prepare them at home, but he’s not concerned about a lack of business, comparing the Ramen restaurant to a pizza parlor. ”I say, why do people go out for pizza when they could just cook a frozen one at home?” he said. “We’re serious about our food. All the work is done on our end–we’re not shortcutting anything.” Des Rosier believes that there is a place for a Ramen-themed restaurant in Milwaukee.
“When I was in New York, I visited seven Ramen restaurants, and I had to wait an hour to be seated at each one,” he said.