Glu Hospitality and partners Derek Gibbons and Tim Lu introduce Chika, a subterranean late night ramen bar inspired by the cult sci-fi classic movie Blade Runner. Chika, which is a Japanese word for basement, brings together a fusion of food, drink and design. Glu has tapped the trinity of replicants to bring this new dystopian experience to life – Chef Dean Leevongcharoen (food), Michael Ego (drink) and BOXwood Architecture and Design Firm (design). The goal is to attract fun eclectic groups of people who can feel they walked into another dimension when entering the unique space. BOXwood helped design the space with Derek Gibbons’ vision to create a late night ramen bar in Rittenhouse similar to those in New York City and Tokyo. Chika is located at 1526 Sansom Street, lower level, beneath the new Rittenhouse Bagels and Co. Doors will open to the public at 4:00pm on Thursday, November 2, 2023. Opening services will be dinner and late night, with lunch and brunch to follow down the road. Hours will be Sunday to Thursday, 4:00pm to Midnight (Kitchen closes 11:00pm) and Friday to Saturday, 4:00pm to 2:00am (Kitchen closes 1:00am). For more information visit https://www.chikaramenbar.com/, follow @chikaramenbar and call 215.419.5847.
“Glu Hospitality has always wanted to create our ramen concept,” said Gibbons. “When I moved here from New York City I missed the late night ramen shops that were a go-to in New York after a night out on the town. When I first stepped into this space it just felt like the perfect place to do this concept – there’s nothing else like it in Philadelphia. Sansom Street and Rittenhouse has so much nightlife but is lacking late night dining – and this seemed like the perfect compliment.”
He added, “Our Asian sushi concepts 1225 Raw, Izakaya Fishtown and Sushi Suite have been well received by the public. We feel there is demand for more in Philadelphia and the entire region. We love that we have the opportunity to create interesting food and drink destinations that bring together classic Asian cuisine with unique spaces and original beverage offerings.”
Chika is a two-level, 2,000 square foot subterranean ramen bar and restaurant that seats 48 guests in total, with bar seating for 14, and a mix of table and banquette seating for two, four, six and eight people. The elevated second level back-dining room can hold 20-24 guests, and is also available for private events and buy-outs.
In the kitchen, guests will find a menu designed by Executive Chef Dean Leevongcharoen, who graduated from Penn State School of Hospitality Management. Leevongcharoen is a Chef and Restaurateur for 12 years, formerly owning a Ramen shop of his own until 2022. He trained in Japan, Lyon France and Paul Bocuse Restaurant School. This is his first time working with Glu Hospitality.
For food offerings, look for otsumami (small side dishes and appetizers), salads, traditional ramens, hand rolls and hand roll sets, and desserts.
Otsumami will include Gyoza (pan-fried chicken and pork dumplings), Agedashi Tofu (deep fried tofu in dashi broth garnished with scallions and bonito flakes), Tuna Rice Crisps (tuna tartare, avocado, serrano), Takoyaki (fried octopus balls drizzled with takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayo), Yakitori (2pcs) (marinated and seasoned chicken skewers), Tori Karaage (juicy japanese style deep fried chicken thighs and salad), and Chashu Burger or Ebi Burger (choice of pork or shrimp, steamed buns, scallions, red pickled ginger, eel sauce, spicy mayo and wasabi sauce).
Leading the ramen menu is the signature Tonkotsu Chashumen – Chika’s signature hakata style “tonkotsu” (pork bone broth boiled over 24 hrs) noodle soup topped with marinated chashu pork, shiitake, menma, red pickled ginger, sesame, scallions and drizzled with roasted garlic oil (served with straight noodle). Other ramens include:
Kara Kara Tonkotsu
(Choose Spice Level: 1-5)
spicy minced pork noodle soup topped w/ marinated chashu pork, shiitake, menma, red pickled ginger, sesame, & scallions (served with straight noodle)
Shoyu Chashumen(3pc Chashu)
soy-flavored wavy noodle soup, topped w/ marinated chashu pork, shiitake, menma, red pickled ginger, naruto, sesame, & scallions (served with wavy noodle)
Chicken or Chashu Miso
Spicy Chicken or Chashu Miso Ramen
miso flavored chicken or pork bone broth noodle soup topped w/ marinated chicken, minced chicken, shiitake, menma, red pickled ginger, corn, butter, sesame, & scallions (served w/ wavy noodle)
Veggie Ramen / Veggie Shoyu Ramen
choice of miso or shoyu flavored noodle soup topped w/ broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onion, snow peas, zucchini, red pickled ginger, menma, shiitake, corn, beansprout, sesame, & scallions (served with wavy noodle)
Want more noodles after your first serving? Say “Kae-dama, Kudsai” to your server for a fresh order of extra noodles!
Vegan highlights include Edamame (fresh steamed soybeans with sea salt), Agedashi Tofu (deep fried tofu in dashi broth garnished with scallions and bonito flakes), Chika Salad (mixed lettuce and vegetables with ginger dressing), Seaweed Salad (seasoned seaweed garnished with red pickled ginger) and Veggie Ramen and Veggie Shoyu Ramen (choice of miso or shoyu flavored noodle soup topped w/ broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onion, snow peas, zucchini, red pickled ginger, menma, shiitake, corn, beansprout, sesame and scallions (served with wavy noodle).
Gluten free offerings include Agedashi Tofu, Hand Rolls and Hand Roll Sets (Tuna, Salmon, Yellowtail, Scallop, Crab, Lobster and Veggie).
At the bar, look for a beverage program designed by Michael Ego, Glu’s Director of Asian Concepts. For beer look for a tight selection of local and Japanese beer (Tired Hands, Asahi, Hitachino, rotating). For wine, look for a heavy sake focus, by the glass and bottle with approachable offerings, sake cups for happy hour, and bottles/carafes for date nights. Sake selections will vary based on seasonal availability. Look for future collaborations with Sango Kura. For cocktails, look for theme inspired creations that take inspiration from the movie and pair with Chef’s ingredients.
Cocktails will include:
Japanese Whisky, Cherry Shochu, St Germaine, Citrus, Egg White
Roasted Sesame Infused Vodka, Mirin, Cucumber
Tequila, Bagels & Co Espresso, Ancho Reyes, Pumpkin & Togarashi Cold Foam
White Rum, Strawberry Sake, Shisho, Yuzu
More Human Than Human
Shochu, Fresh Citrus, Fresh Ginger Syrup, Bubbles
Japanese Gin, Cherry Blossom Calpico, Elderflower Tonic, Boba
Mocktails will include:
Apple Cider Shrub, Rosemary, Togarashi, Bubbles
Green Tea, Honey Syrup, Yuzu, Ginger Beer
Beer selections will include:
Downeast Cider “Winter Cider”
Seasonal 16oz Can
Levante Brewing “Cloudy & Cumbersome” IPA
Hitachino White Ale
Wheat Ale 12oz Can(Japan)
Non-Alcoholic Partake Watermelon Gose or Sapporo Pure
Kirin Ichiban Rice Lager (or Kirin Light)
Sapporo Lager Bulliet 22oz
Sake Cups will include:
Nihon Sakari “Demon Slayer”
Futsushu Juice Box
Kikusui Shinmai Shinshu Honjozo
Nama Genshu (Green Can)
Amabuki Ichigo Strawberry
Kikusui Funaguchi Honjozo
Sake by the glass and bottle will include:
Born “Gold» JMD
3oz Glass / Bottle
Kikusui “Chrysanthemum Mist” JMG
3oz Glass / Bottle
Suigei “Drunken Whale” TBJM
3oz Glass / Bottle
Dassai Nigori 45 “Otter Fest” JMG
3oz Glass / Bottle
Rotating wine selections will include:
Cabernet Sauvignon (Red)
Glass / Bottle
Sauvignon Blanc (White)
Glass / Bottle
Glass / Bottle
Inspired by Blade Runner, Chika is a celebration of one of the greatest sci fi movies of all time, with interior design that marries cyberpunk and cyber noir style with the urban dynamic of Tokyo to include; neon lighting, metals, mirrors, reflections, and graffiti. Glu Hospitality tapped the talents of BOXwood Architecture and Design Firm to create the unique underground ramen bar inspired by Blade Runner. For the leads on the project, BOXwood engaged:
Partner: Salvador Guerrero Jr.
Architectural Designer: Ryan Galena
Interiors: Claire Rampulla
This was the first time Glu and BOXwood have worked together, but the two companies have already started the collaborative process on a second restaurant and bar that is yet to be announced. Stay tuned.
For Glu Hospitality, Chika continues a streak of grand openings following Sushi Suite, Bagels and Co. Ft. Lauderdale/Florida, Bagels and Co. Brewerytown and Bagels and Co. Rittenhouse – all this fall. This is one of nearly 30 restaurants Glu has on the slate to open – that will also include Bagels and Co. Temple, Bagels and Co. South Philadelphia, Bagels and Co. Midtown Village, The Peabody and many others are yet to be announced.
Alongside Chika, Glu’s full portfolio at this time includes Figo Ristorante, Figo Pizzeria, Sushi Suite, Izakaya Fishtown, Anejo Philly, Leda’s Cocktail Lounge, 1225 Raw, Vesper Center City, Brewerytown Food Hall, Bagels and Co. Brewerytown, Bagels and Co. Northern Liberties, Bagels and Co. Rittenhouse, Bagels and Co. Ft. Lauderdale, and Bagels and Co. Fishtown.