Fast Food

Asian restaurant Ramen Hayashi opens in northwest Fresno CA

It took about four years, but the newest restaurant in northwest Fresno is finally open.

Ramen Hayashi is the latest eatery to open in the Marketplace at El Paseo, the shopping center anchored by Target near Highway 99 and Herndon Avenue. It’s just south of the Regal Marketplace theater.

“I felt like I finally gave birth to a baby,” said Jason Lin, who owns the restaurant, along with his family and business partners.

That baby is actually a Japanese restaurant that serves ramen noodles — in soup, pan fried, and in a salad, along with other dishes like rice bowls.

Keep reading for more details about the menu, including Japanese cheesecake, and soup broth that’s simmered for 12 to 15 hours.

Ramen Hayashi joins several other recent newcomers to the center, including Bag O’ Crab, Crave Cookie, Angry Chickz and The Chicken Shack. And Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is still planning to open a location near the north entrance.

The new restaurant is also the latest in a long list of locally and family owned restaurants by the same restaurant group, which includes the Lin family and other business partners. Lin’s parents and older brother Jin opened and still run Blackstone buffet Lin’s Fusion. You’ll also find brother Kevin working as a chef at Ramen Hayashi and as area manager for all the restaurants.

The first Ramen Hayashi opened at Herndon and Fowler avenues Clovis in 2020.

The family also owns Japanese restaurant Hino Oishi at Campus Pointe, along with J Pot Mini Hot Pot & Bar in River Park. They bought nearby Dai Bai Dang and revamped it as Spicy J’s Chinese Cuisine.

They also opened two Rollie Rollie rolled ice cream and boba drink locations.

What’s next? Lin said he plans to revamp the Nees Avenue Rollie Rollie into Rollin Rice, a quick-service fried rice place with Chipotle-style customization.

Ramen Hayashi at El Paseo

The new restaurant took so long because it was originally supposed to be another Hino Oishi. But the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and they decided to downsize to half as much space.

During that time, the Clovis Ramen Hayashi opened, when restaurants were still facing restrictions on how they did business to limit the spread of the disease.

“I was just surprised how well we did,” Lin said. “When we opened we only did takeout.”

So they redid all their plans and turned the northwest spot into a ramen restaurant.

“We felt like this side of town needs a nice restaurant, a nice, quick, casual restaurant,” Lin said, adding that there aren’t many Asian or ramen restaurants in this part of town.

The new location is similar to Clovis, but has a walk-up window for take-out orders, including pickups by delivery app drivers. A unique two-layer takeout package lets customers add the noodles and toppings to the broth so nothing gets soggy.

It also has a large patio.

Its liquor license is expected to be approved soon and the restaurant will serve beer, wine and sake.

The food

As for the food, we’re not talking about cheap Top Ramen you get at the grocery store. These are quality noodles cooked with timers for just the right texture.

Newcomers to ramen may want to try the tonkotsu ramen. That’s the traditional ramen with a rich pork broth that simmers for at least 12 hours in giant pots.

It comes with chasu, pork that is finished off with flame from a handheld torch. Toppings include mushrooms, green onions, seaweed and a soft-boiled egg that is marinated for 10 to 12 hours in a sweet soy sauce.

The menu also offers a build-your-own bowl of ramen. Gluten-free noodles and vegan broth are available.

Other dishes are available too, including yaki ramen — the noodles pan fried with vegetables and meat or tofu.

There’s also Japanese cheesecake in both matcha and regular flavor. The restaurant’s name and logo are branded into the top of the cheesecake, which is served with a strawberry flower.

Details: Ramen Hayashi is at 6455 N. Riverside Drive. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.

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