Obento-Ya closes; will be replaced by a Ramen Kazama

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Obento-Ya's announcement came suddenly on Sunday.

The bad news is, southeast Como in Minneapolis is losing a Japanese restaurant. 

The good news? Another one's taking its place. 

Obento-Ya, a Japanese bistro that occupied a space near the corner of Como Avenue and 15th Avenue SE, has closed "permantently" as of yesterday (Sunday), more than 10 years after it opened there.

News of the sudden closure came via a Facebook post from the restaurant, which thanks "all the amazing people that contributed, and guests that filled our lives allowing us to share."

Readers of that post had to wait about two seconds to find out what was coming up next: "I am super excited for change, especially for Chef Matthew Kazama and his talented team. Ramen Kazama will take over the space."

This is a tremendous turn of events for any Como-area residents who will need heaping bowls of steaming soup to get them through the winter months, or who just crave the stuff after a long day. Or a short one. (Ramen's good.)

The first Ramen Kazama opened in late 2015 on Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis, thereby becoming the first ramen-first-and-foremost restaurant in the Twin Cities. Chef Kazama says growing up, for him ramen was less like food and "more like my entire culture."

It shows in the quality of the product. Here's how we described Ramen Kazama last year:

"This is how it's supposed to taste. The broths are delicate yet powerful, like a long-learned grandmotherly recipe. They're soothing with the medicinal power of the fats, minerals, and proteins of bones and enlivened with aromatic vegetables, salt, soy, and miso."

Ramen Kazama also broke the news to Facebook-ers on Sunday. Though the message has no details on when the former Obento-Ya will reopen for ramen, the post does carry one piece of advice for the youths: "It is a fact, eating ramen will improve your grades!"


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