(Ramen Burger / Ramen Shack)
Keizo Shimamoto is a self-proclaimed Ramen Freak.
It all began in 2007 when Keizo started a ramen blog called Go Ramen! to post reviews of every ramen shop in Southern California, and within six months he managed to visit and review 48 different shops and ranked them all. Over the next two years, Keizo took his blog to Tokyo twice to continue to explore and document his increasingly-serious ramen obsession which culminated in the ultimate eating-trip across Japan, “The Dream Ramen Journey” – 28 days, 21 cities, and 55 bowls of ramen. That experience left a profound impression on Keizo and prompted him to take the deep-plunge – he quit his corporate programmer job to move to Japan to learn how to make ramen from the best!
Keizo kick started his ramen-career by meeting and apprenticing with Ivan Orkin at the original Ivan Ramen in Minami-Karasuyama, and merely a year later, he was recruited to work at one of his favorite shops in Tokyo, Bassanova, where he eventually became the sole manager running a ramen shop in Japan – all just three-years after he set out on his ramen journey from So-Cal!
Soon thereafter, Keizo returned to the states and settled-down in NYC. Here, he created and introduced his version of the Ramen Burger (which he first encountered, himself, in Japan), and it becomes an overnight, runaway hit, propelling him to instant fame, selling-out at any event where he was invited to set-up his grill. Keizo then linked up with the team behind Smorgasburg to offer his cult Ramen Burgers on weekends in Williamsburg. Meanwhile, he also started serving and focusing on his own ramen at weekend “Ramen Shack” pop-ups at Smorgasburg Queens gaining critical-acclaim and building-up a legion of loyal fans who would wait in long lines to slurp his bowls.
In 2015, Keizo set up his prep-kitchen to also house a 10-seat “permanent pop-up” and finally realized his dream of operating his own, brick-and-mortar, ramen-shop – “Ramen Shack” in Long Island City where everything is made from scratch, including the noodles! Keizo hand-selects every ingredient and refines each step of the ramen-making process to create his “ramen inspired ramen” and share the love of his craft with all of his guests.
Keizo’s mission is to continue to share his passion for ramen – to preserve, protect, innovate, elevate, and spread the art of ramen-making to the whole world. To that end, he has invited his mentor, Koitani-san of Japan’s Rajuku Ramen School, to takeover Ramen Shack for a five-day, ramen-making-intensive course for those serious about learning how to craft authentic ramen. Keizo is dedicated to fostering and building a strong ramen-community which will take artisanal ramen-culture forward far into the future!
Keizo’s inspiring journey was featured in a short documentary by Michael McAteer which won Best Short at the Food Film Fest in NYC in 2012.
AT ANIME NYC
Keizo will appear at Anime NYC on the Ramen Summit – Sunday at 1:30 PM in Panel Room 1.