A ramen restaurant opened this month in Lowell, reported a Chowhound user, and a Boston-trained chef is leading the charge alongside an old friend. Charlie Mai, an alumnus of the popular Whisk pop-up (which is currently putting down roots in Jamaica Plain), teamed up with his longtime friend and now business partner Peter Huynh to open 1981 Ramen Bar at 129 Merrimack St.
Mai serves as the resident ramen expert, cooking up pork belly and chicken soups along with steamed baos, wings, and tapas. He and Huynh are both Boston-area natives and have been friends since they were teenagers. They kicked off business at 1981 Ramen earlier this month with a soft opening and a limited menu, and they plan to add seasonal vegetarian ramen options and a wet bar for cocktails.
A few early Yelp reviews average out to three-and-a-half out of five stars, with customers showing love for the pork buns with kimchi and the sweet and spicy wings. The restaurant is currently open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.