Ex-Butchers & Barbers' Chef Luke Reyes To Bring New Ramen Option Downtown

Luke Reyes, former chef at the Corner Door and the now-shuttered Butchers & Barbers, is bringing a new ramen concept to downtown L.A.

"I was in New York City working at the Four Seasons around the time Momofuku first hit—that was maybe nine, 10 years ago. I remember that first wave of ramen," Reyes told LAist. "It was the only thing open late-night that I could afford as a cook."

And though he moved to Los Angeles about eight years ago (working his way through The Tasting Kitchen, Butchers & Barbers, and even The Gorbals), he always felt the drive to return to ramen.

"When I was a Butchers & Barbers, I wanted to do something a bit more casual, so we started playing around with ramen in the kitchen, then we started doing these Japanese whiskey pop-ups and served ramen," Reyes continues.

From there, Reyes teamed up with Scratch Bar chef Phillip Frankland Lee for a concept they hoped to bring to the Valley called Oh Man! Ramen. The idea never panned out, so Reyes—now with the help of two long-time friends: Houston restaurateur Shawn Bermudez, and fashion designer Devin Carlson—is bringing his bowls of ramen to downtown.

9th Street Ramen is eyeing a late fall/early winter opening in the former Chu's Kitchen spot on 9th Street.

"I used to live at 9th and Santee for three years when I first moved from New York," Reyes told LAist. "The neighborhood was very different then, and I used to walk by Chu's all the time, and eat there because it reminded me of very simple Chinese food. It reminded me a lot of the East Coast."

When the team behind Chu's (which has occupied their 9th Street storefront for several decades) was ready to retire, Bermudez and Carlson helped negotiate the deal to take the place over.

"We just want to be part of the neighborhood," Reyes said. Even with DTLA Ramen down the street, Reyes sees an underserved market for ramen in Downtown's burgeoning South Park neighborhood.

Beyond ramen, expect a small bar with a few options for beer, wine, and sake. "Nothing crazy," Reyes says. "And we'll have an open kitchen too, so you can see us cooking back there."

H/T: Eater LA

9th Street Ramen will be located at 111 West 9th Street in Downtown Los Angeles.