I just got a wonderful recommendation from our friend Donald Bell. He emailed me about a new and unusual ramen shop in the Brooklyn Basin area of Oakland, California and gave me the okay to share it here: It's called JR Ramen Station.
It's a play on the JR brand subway lines that go throughout Japan. We all just got back from a Tokyo trip last month, so the logo really jumped out at us when we spotted it from 880. In fact, it's probably a lawsuit waiting to happen, since it's the exact same logo as the train system.
It'd be like seeing a BART themed burger restaurant in Tokyo (which wouldn't surprise me, actually).
It's a full-on gimmick, but the food is good and I recommend checking it out.
It's all contactless. You order through a kiosk at the front and your order eventually appears at a little window. No humans to be seen. Japan train station jingles and announcements are piped-in everywhere. There are vending machines for imported Japanese drinks and snacks.
If you've been to Japan, it's a fun nostalgia bomb. If you haven't, it just makes the experience even more wonderfully bizarre.
Jr Ramen Station exterior. Photo: Donald Bell, used with permission.