Ani translates to English as ‘big brother’. The idea of nurturing and growth in the way that sibling and family relationships bring together and strengthen communities.
Working closely with the Sun Noodle company, the Ani Ramen team tested hundreds of combinations of noodle, broth and select ingredients to define the six variations available at our location. They embraced the tradition of quality, hand-rolled noodle ramen by interpreting it in our own modern way to bring a unique and vibrant atmosphere.
We decided to interview Luck Sarabhayavanija because of his industry incite and and noodle knowledge.
Q. Why would someone from NYC make their way to NJ try out your ramen?
A. For the same reason someone would travel to Brooklyn for a great bowl. Its just right across the river! Our signature pork stock is of the highest quality. We use Berkshire Bones for our tonkotsu and we use the best Japanese ingredients!
Q. Is there a food revolution that’s starting up in New Jersey?
A. I wouldn’t say revolution. It’s just a better business decision. There’s no reason high profile chefs with great restaurants should be shutting their doors. They were priced out of NY, and now being priced out of BK. It just makes sense from a business standpoint. Bigger restaurants + more efficient kitchens. New Yorkers who have moved out of the city into NJ towns that have a downtown so most of our guests aren’t from the towns we’ve opened in. They are those just moving in. NY ~> NJ
Q. How many trials of testing did it take for you to create your ramen menu? What was the component that was missing that made you realize this was what you wanted to serve?
A. We tested hundreds of combinations with Sun Noodle. We wanted the portion to the broth to be right, the length and chew of the noodle. The waviness and the thickness. The noodle combination with the broth took the longest though. The component that was missing with the pork bone broth. There are NO shortcuts. To get that stock to the right silky smooth broth that it is today takes countless hours of labor.
Q. Whats your goal, in terms of business, in the next few years?
A. We just want to remain consistent. The hardest part of growth is making sure that our guests have the same experience in all of our restaurants. We don’t care if we just opened 5 days ago, you should have the same experience as if you have been coming to our original location in Montclair, 5 years ago. We will continue to grow if our team is able to keep up the consistency at a high quality.
Q. Did your background have any influence on your passion for ramen? How did you decide that you wanted to get into Japanese cuisine?
A. My grandmother was the real influence. I grew up on packaged ramen to be honest. Japanese Ramen, Korean Ramen, even Thai Ramen (Mama Brand, sooo good!) and she would use that as a base and add in all types of meats and veggies to make it a complete meal. Then discovered REAL Ramen and the rest is history. I was addicted. I’ve travelled all over the US and to Japan trying out all different types of Ramen. Till this day I am still just true a fan of the game. I still dine out at other ramen houses ALL THE TIME because I truly love that they do and have the utmost respect for anyone who had truly perfected their craft.
Q. Can you share something interesting about you? Our users would like to get to know you.
A. I love Ramen, Pizza, Cars, & Sneakers. I can eat ramen & pizza every day for the rest of my life and be happy. I am 35 Years old. I had 3 sons. (who have all waited at a young age for countless hours for Ramen & Pizza) I’d never move away from NYC for that reason. Nowhere in the world has both of those! yes, I am definitely working on a pizza concept to feed my needs.
By Caspar Zhou, Ramen Route App