After a successful move out West from Burlington, Vermont to Boulder, Gaku Ramen plans to break into a second Colorado market in historic Old Town Fort Collins. Located at 223 Linden St., the restaurant offers traditional Japanese fare in a welcoming casual, collegial atmosphere. This setting was born from a college friendship between partners Ryan Goldstein, Michael March and David Stone in concert with a lifelong affinity for Asian culture.
“Two of the partners still live in Asia,” Joe Vicari, a managing partner with Trust3 Hospitality, told What Now Denver. “It’s very similar to an izakaya concept born from Japan. The founders even brought ramen masters here to help with the food, menu, and authenticity.”
Trust3 has partnered with the founding trio for “well over a decade” to operate the restaurants. Per the Gaku Ramen website, Goldstein still lives in Tokyo after embedding in Japanese culture and history for over 20 years. March, currently living in Thailand, studied Japanese and Chinese culture while spending more than the last 30 years living across the continent. When their friend Stone, now a surgeon, suggested answering the need for a genuine ramen restaurant in Burlington, the boys were on board.
The food featured at Gaku captures the essence of quick yet tasty meals available in a relaxed, Japanese-inn influenced context. As such, there is gyoza, shishito peppers, mixed greens, and “karrage” — traditional Japanese fried chicken — to start, with salmon, pork belly, and veggies all available in various ramen and rice bowls featured as main dishes.
The Fort Collins restaurant will spread over 2,600 square feet and seat from 65-70 people. Vicari said that Gaku Ramen is aiming for a late spring opening. The casual sit-down eatery will look to bring vibrant energy to town during a vivacious time of year.