Ramen news: Men-no Kura closes shop in Vancouver's West End

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      To stay in the game in the West End's concentration of ramen shops near the intersection of Robson and Denman streets, it's unfortunately not enough to simply deliver the goods.

      Each place has to stand out in its own way in order to survive, with the likes of nearby Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Marutama Ra-Men, and Kintaro offering stiff competition with their regular lineups of fervent followers.

      Men-No Kura opened at 1773 Robson Street on July 15, 2016, to take a crack at the market.

      Men-no Kura

      While its menu offered staples such as shio, shoyu, and garlic miso of its tonkotsu (pork broth) bowls (as well as torigara, or chicken broth), it also offered some unique variations.

      For instance, an option for vegetarians, the tomato cheese ramen, was akin to a soup-based spaghetti. Also available were spicy tantanmen, tsukemen (dipping noodles), kimchi chashu, and black garlic tonkotsu.

      Unfortunately, it has recently shut down. The Georgia Straight is awaiting a response to an inquiry to the team behind the restaurant, which also runs Taishoken Ramen (515 Abbott Street) on the edge of Chinatown and Gastown, about the closure.

      Men-no Kura

      Another recent closure in the area was the Ramenman, which has moved its operations to its second location at 572 Davie Street and expanded its hours of operation there to seven days a week.

      The closures, however, have not deterred others from trying their hand at establishing themselves in the district.

      At the Ramenman's former premises at 841 Bidwell Street (off Robson Street), a new entry from Japan, Ramen Taka (also known as Ramen Takanotsume), is setting up shop. It will be the first international location of this chainlet from Hokkaido and will open in April.

      Also gearing up to open sometime this spring at 1479 Robson Street (at Nicola Street) is Ramen Koika, which opened its first location at 1231 Davie Street.