Ramen Gaijin is staying in Sebastopol. The popular Sebastopol ramen shop was eyeing a move to a space in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square, but owners Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Schuman secured a favorable lease with building owner Stephen Singer and now have ambitious plans in the works.
The other big news is that, as of Dec. 10, beer, sake and wine will flow again after a four-month dry spell. After moving into Forcetta-Bastoni earlier this year, Williams and Hahn-Schuman applied to transfer the faltering restaurant's liquor license to their business, but the process was mired in red tape and the state blocked liquor sales until outstanding issues were resolved. Forcetta-Bastoni has since closed, and Ramen Gaijin is the sole occupant of the downtown Sebastopol space. Beer, wine and sake will be available at the bar and lounge, but not ramen. No spirits for now.
Meanwhile, the ramen restaurant will close for as long as a month over the holidays for remodeling aimed at streamlining the kitchen, retooling the bar and taking care of building-maintenance issues.
Once the renovations are complete, the bar will offer an izakaya menu, Japanese-style bar snacks like yakitori and small plate dishes made to go with drinks. There are also plans to hire a beverage director who will create an ambitious cocktail program (think Japanese whiskey-based cocktails and more sake).
Longer term, Williams says he and Hahn-Schuman are looking to bring in a sushi chef to open a 10-seat omakase-style sushi bar at the counter space in the middle of the restaurant. They also have plans to make their excellent noodles available for wholesale.
In the meantime, toast Ramen Gaijin's commitment to stay with a beer and bowl of shoyu ramen. 6948 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. 707.827.3609.