One of the biggest udon restaurant chains in Japan is expanding to San Diego and taking up residence at Westfield UTC. Marugame Udon tells Eater that it’s still working on an exact arrival date but a posted sign indicates a late 2023 opening. The fast-casual noodle shop is moving into the former Veggie Grill space near Macy’s and next to Qin West Noodle.
With over 200 locations overseas, including several in California, Marugame Udon is known as Marugame Seimen in Japan where it operates well over 700 quick-service restaurants.
Its pillowy, thick udon noodles are made in-house at every store, with diners customizing their bowls by adding on toppings from a cafeteria-like counter; as customers move through the queue, they’ll be able to watch the culinary action in the open, theater-like kitchen.
Though the company is headquartered in Kobe, Japan, Marugame’s cooking method originated in the Kagawa prefecture on the island of Shikoku; its Sanuki-style udon is made with wheat flour, water, and salt and has a bouncy texture. Popular bowls include nikutama with beef which is available hot or cold, kitsune served in dashi with sweet fried tofu, and udon in curry sauce. Tempura is a side dish frequently eaten with udon, and the menu features tempura shrimp, squid, sweet potato, and more.