Liberty Public Market settles into its fifth year of operation with a refreshed food lineup that includes a new stand run by a well-known local chef. RakiRaki Ramen recently exited the Liberty Station food hall, giving way to Weapon, a new ramen shop from chef Phillip Esteban and OpenGym, a local creative collective and newly-minted non-profit. Combining hospitality with education and philanthropy, the group’s growing docket include Craft Meals, a catering company that provides community meals, as well as a culinary store and stand-alone restaurant in National City.
Esteban, who is also scheduled to launch a brick-and-mortar of White Rice — his Filipino rice bowl concept — at the market this May, says Weapon reflects a life-long appreciation for Japanese culture; the stall incorporates designs inspired by anime and the turntables in the front of the space are a nod to Tokyo’s famous listening bars.
Weapon offers a pork-based tonkotsu ramen and vegan version made with soy and mushroom broth with options flavor-enhancing koji butter bombs that range from corn yuzu to miso honey. Continuing his work with the San Diego Fisherman’s Working Group through the Fish to Families program, the chef is also serving chirashi bowls — seasoned rice bowls topped with seafood from the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
The chef-backed ramen stand joins the latest wave of food additions that spans Tortas el Chapulin, whose range of toasted Mexican sandwiches includes roasted adobo pork and chicken milanesa to Rad Burger, a diner-style burger outpost from the owners of The Pig’s Gig and Fluster Cluck Hot Chicken. And contributing Southeast Asian comfort food is Slurp, which offers a variety of noodle soups, from pho to shrimp wonton noodles as well as barbecue pork and roast duck over rice.