St. Paul’s popular pork-free ramen joint Tori Ramen debuted a second location—Tori 44—in the Victory neighborhood of north Minneapolis this April, complete with favorites from the St. Paul original and an expanded menu of entrees, desserts, and inventive bowls.
With regional Asian and local influences alike, it’s become an instant hit among Northsiders and ramen junkies in the Twin Cities at large. And now, thanks to its larger footprint, the restaurant is taking operations up a notch further: Tori 44 and Tori Ramen have started serving noodles made in-house, a development that earns them the honor of being the very first ramen shop in the Twin Cities to make and serve their own.
Chef-owner Jason Dorweiler shared the “HUGE NEWS" on Tori 44’s Facebook page last month:
The all-caps excitement is warranted: This is huge news indeed, not only for foodies in the Twin Cities, but for restaurateurs and chefs looking to elevate and complicate the image of the ramen bowl as well.
Back in 1958, when Taiwanese-Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando created the first batch of instant ramen after years of tireless experimentation in his shed, he couldn’t have imagined that people across the globe would savor his noodles with such unfettered enthusiasm. In a matter of decades, Ando’s Cup Noodles, under the Nissin brand, became wildly successful, traveling quickly from Japan to the rest of the world and evoking a broader interest in east Asian cuisines along the way.
Once regarded as the humble mainstay of penniless students across college campuses in the United States, ramen today enjoys a diverse and often upscale clientele. It’s no longer simply a go-to meal after a night of debauchery, or a moment of respite in a chaotic dormitory. Rather, today, ramen is served up at highly acclaimed restaurants in the culinary capitals of the world, and Tori 44 exemplifies this powerful gastronomic trend rapidly taking root in the Twin Cities.
As ramen—in its gourmet incarnation—becomes a more ubiquitous menu item across St. Paul-Minneapolis and the nation at large, sparked by a swelling interest in and a newfound reverence for Asian foods, Tori’s daring venture invites thrilling possibilities. Dorweiler expressed his keenness to test out dishes like squid ink noodles and ramen-style gluten-free noodles, enhancing Tori’s repertoire of adventurous bowls that transcend convention.
Whether Tori will begin to supply its noodles to restaurants and grocery stores in the Twin Cities remains to be seen, but in the meantime, we’re glad we get to sink our teeth into those springy and delicious house-made noodles on either side of the river.
2203 44th Ave. N., Minneapolis
161 N. Victoria St., St. Paul