HiroNori Craft Ramen arrives in Hillcrest today, adding San Diego to its collection of eateries in Orange County; an outpost recently opened in Santa Clara and there are existing locations in Irvine and Long Beach. James Kozono, an LA restauranteur who is overseeing its San Diego expansion, says the partners plan to open additional locations in the area.
Co-founders Hiromichi Igarashi and Tadanori Akasakao channeled their collective experience as ramen chefs at restaurants in Japan and the U.S. into creating HiroNori Craft Ramen. A factory in the Los Angeles area makes its special recipe for noodles, available in thin or thick styles, and most of its ramen bases including a 24-hour simmered pork tonkotsu broth.
Besides tonkotsu, the eatery also offers a shoyu ramen made with two-year barrel-aged soy sauce and a vegan sesame miso ramen packed with vegetables, soy meat, and tofu. The menu is rounded out with pork, chicken, or seafood-topped rice bowls and appetizers such as pork belly buns, cucumber crab salad, and garlic-soy fried chicken. The 1,101-square-foot, 30-seat Fifth Avenue shop will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; the eatery also working on adding beer and sake. As is common practice in Japan, a 15% service charged is tacked onto your bill in lieu of tipping.