1930 S. Havana St.
Ownership: Chang Lee and his wife Yumi Ogai and their business partner Masumi Higo
Hours: 11 am. to 9:30 p.m. or until the food is gone
Katsu Ramen is a little difficult to find as it is in the strip mall behind the 7-Eleven on the SE corner of Jewell and Havana, but finding it is definitely worth the effort. It is true mom & pop ethnic restaurant. Katsu Ramen opened in January of 2015 and it has been nonstop busy ever since. You will find authentic, traditional bowls of Japanese noodles that are made up fresh every day. A batch of the Tonkatsu ramen broth takes 12-15 hours to perfect, so it not simply a matter of quickly whipping up another noodle bowl–it takes time to make and when its gone for the day, it gone. Head Chef Shinsuke Hirao is from Osaka, Japan, and had operated a ramen franchise in Japan for many years before coming to Aurora.
Chang and Yumi also own Sushi Katsu at 2222 S Havana, as well as the Birchtree Shopping Center on the SE corner of Jewell and Havana. Chang and Yumi are bringing two new ethnic restaurants to the Birchtree Center. Dae Gee Korean Restaurant is opening in the site of the former Han Kang tenant space. Chang expects Dae Gee to be open towards the end of April or early May 2017. The Angry Chicken, a Korean fried chicken restaurant, is going into the space previously occupied by Whispers. Angry Chicken will be adding 1,000 sf to the west side of the tenant space. Construction has started, but this is a major expansion so Angry chicken won’t be open until the end of May or later this summer. There is also a surprise coming to the tenant space just north of Sushi Katsu, but the only hint Chang would give us was that it has something to do with Italian crepes!
Westword Article: “Choosing a favorite restaurant in Aurora’s on Havana Street is like picking a favorite child — we love all the diverse ethnic eateries here — but Katsu Ramen is a standout, because the metro area’s ramen scene is hotter than sriracha and cooler than mochi ice cream right now. Katsu Ramen threw open its doors in January to crowds eager to sample its five ramen types: shoyu with meat broth, miso with savory broth and vegetables, tonkotsu with pork, tan tan with spicy chicken, and hiyashi chuka, a summery ramen dish with chilled broth. The menu also features popular offerings like pork gyoza dumplings, a seared tuna tataki salad and a refreshing mango-sauced frozen panna cotta. The atmosphere has a certain kitschy charm, with plastic replicas of menu items and a stray Hello Kitty toy or three, but the most important thing here is that the diminutive space can handle volume — and that’s exactly what it does every day, with a lunchtime line most restaurants would envy.” Katsu Ramen is open at 11 a.m. but often runs out of their fresh ramen by 4 p.m. or so, since the ramen noodles are made fresh by their Japanese chef daily. Katsu Ramen is looking to expand into a larger space in the same shopping center in 2017 and plans to be open longer hours to satisfy all of the authentic Japanese Ramen fans in the Denver Metro area.”
Westword’s 2018 Readers’ Choice: Katsu Ramen