A new ramen bar biz is coming in strong across Metro Vancouver, launching four locations this May. ZUBU Ramen Bar will operate locations in Vancouver's Kerrisdale and Olympic Village, as well as in Burnaby at Metrotown and West Vancouver at Park Royal.
Three of the locations ZUBU is opening are now-defucnt locations of JINYA Ramen, which are JINYA's Kerrisdale and Metrotown outposts, as well as their "express" model in Olympic Village.
JINYA, the Los Angeles based ramen chain, still has those locations listed on their website. Additionally, JINYA re-opened their flagship downtown Vancouver location on Robson for dine-in service on May 19.
ZUBU's menu is centred on ramen, however they do have a variety of other Japanese dishes available.
"Each location has something familiar yet unique to offer; whether it be our addictive ramen, fresh temaki, homemade gyoza, or satisfying rice bowls," says the new chain.
Their ramen comes in a number of styles, including three Tonkotsu offerings (with variables on the pork based soup like spiciness, noodle style, and the inclusion of chicken). They also offer mazesoba, a "soupless" style of ramen popularized locally by another chain, as well as chicken or spicy chicken ramen, Yatai ramen, a plain vegetable soup, and vegan option. A lengthy list of optional add-ons include things like a seasoned egg, parmesan cheese, corn, bok choy, nori, garlic, and much more.
In West Vancouver and Burnaby diners will find lengthier menus that offer additional specialty styles of ramen, as well as other kinds of small plates, like Japanese fusion tacos and rice bowls.
As far as restaurant design goes, ZUBU says: "Our space has a clean, linear style free of clutter with no frills."
For their grand opening on May 30-31, ZUBU Kerrisdale, Metrotown, and Olympic Village will offer a discount 50% off all items for pick-up orders, with all proceeds donated to local hospitals, as an effort to support the COVID-19 response in Metro Vancouver. The West Vancouver location will open some time in June.
While all four ZUBU locations will offer in-store pick-up as well as delivery through third party apps UberEats and SkipTheDishes, only three will be open seven days a week. The Olympic Village location - home until now to the diminutive JINYA "express" location - is called a "food hall" and will only operate weekdays. At that outpost you can expect to find items like Japanese hamburg steak and curry, alongside ramen. All location information, including hours and addresses, is listed on the Zubu website.
ZUBU has clarified with V.I.A. that they are not currently affiliated with JINYA, and that they offer a different experience. "Although there may be similarities in menu, ZUBU stands in a league of its own," a rep said via e-mail.
This story has been updated to reflect information confirmed with the restaurant received after publication.