Thumbs Up Ramen, a new Japanese restaurant, has opened in Fort Lee. Located at 2024 Center Avenue, Suite G in Fort Lee, Thumbs Up brings together a partnership between two skilled restaurateurs whose goal in mind was to have customers experience ramen from Japan like never before. The signature item “Bubble (AWA) Ramen” will soon be the talk of town. Read on to learn more about Thumbs Up Ramen located in Bergen County.
Coming to NJ
The owners of Thumbs Up Ramen are Naotaka Miyazawa and Teruaki Ishiyama. Naotaka hails from Tokyo where he was introduced to the craft of creating ramen in his teenage years. He then went on to work at Tsujita in Tokyo, a well-known ramen restaurant famous for its artisanal Tsukemen (Japanese noodles). The business took off and expanded to the U.S. where there are now many locations. However, the first east coast location Naotaka opened is Thumbs Up Ramen.
Bringing 32 years of experience as a ramen chef, Naotaka teamed up with Teruaki, who opened countless restaurants across the nation, including Tokyo Shokudo, Tendon Tempura Carlos Jr., and B-Bee Crepe & Boba. It was Teruaki who came up with the idea of opening a restaurant in Fort Lee, having lived in NJ for the past five years and often traveling to the city via the nearby George Washington Bridge.
(Photo credit: @thumbsup777)
The owners first brought attention to the restaurant opening in its first Instagram post on December 11th, 2021, stating, “Grand opening in Spring 2022!! We will be updating you all on this account!” The grand opening officially took place on Wednesday, June 1st. To celebrate and welcome new customers, the Asian eatery offered 100 bowls of its signature Bubble (AWA) Ramen dish for free to the first 100 people who followed its Instagram account.
About the Menu
Aside from the signature dish, customers can select from any of the eight types of ramen offered including chicken paitan ramen, chicken paitan tsukemen, chicken paitan miso ramen, chicken paitan miso tsukemen, tomato mabo-noodle, vegetable ramen, classic shoyu ramen, and customize ramen. Each dish is customizable with the option of choosing from a selection of 15 different toppings. Thumbs Up Ramen also has appetizers on its menu including chicken karaage, takoyaki, gyoza, pork buns, edamame, and a variety of rice bowls.
Naotaka developed his own recipe for Bubble (AWA) Ramen after a recent visit to Japan and testing out ramen from numerous shops. He shared in a press release, “I thought it was a lovely ramen and worked hard to develop my own recipe. I genuinely wanted Americans to try my Bubble (AWA) Ramen because of its creativity and deliciousness.”
The ramen master chef says it takes 20 hours to make the chicken paitan broth. The process includes slowly boiling select chicken bones with eight kinds of flavorful vegetables.
“It creates a pleasant harmony when combined with the fresh noodles that we source from Sun Noodle, a famed noodle maker with a factory in New Jersey,” he said. “Just before pouring the soup into a bowl, we whisk the soup to enhance the umami inside the broth. The bubbles’ texture [is] so soft; when they pop inside your mouth, the chicken fragrance tickles your nostrils.”
Check It Out
Thumbs Up Ramen is located next to other restaurants including Bunsik, JINN Ice Cream Rolls, Aquarius Seafood, and Soba Noodle Azuma. There is plenty of seating available inside for customers to dine in and watch the ramen being made fresh daily.
The Japanese hotspot has already earned 4.5 stars on Yelp. One reviewer wrote, “It is always nice to grab a dish of ramen when you want it. But to have a meal of ramen that is different, fresh and reminds you of a ramen you have always enjoyed, then this is the place to go.” Another shared, “I’m typically skeptical of chicken broth based ramen as past ones I’ve had were tasteless. Thumbs Up nails it though. Flavorful, rich, and comforting. I will def be back.”
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The hours of operation are from 11AM to 3PM for lunch and 5PM to 9PM for dinner every day except for Wednesdays, when Thumbs Up is closed.