“Send Noods,” says the sign out front. It’s the kind of thing you’d see on some novelty socks, but still, it’s clever enough to elicit a chuckle from me. The glowing blue sign and a white decal with the word “ramen” on the glass door were all it took to convince me to go inside. Sleet was pelting me as the temperature soggily hovered around freezing. Happiness is hot soup on a cold day.
Hana Ramen Bar’s location is the epitome of nondescript. It’s tucked in a one-story office park, strip mall amalgam across the parking lot from a Taco Bell and adjacent to something called Resolute Diligence Solutions, which I couldn’t ascertain the purpose of once my eyes glazed over after reading it was a subsidiary of some other “solutions” based company. The interior is unpretentious. A chalkboard menu, a big-screen television playing looped snowboard movies, and Corona beer branded tables, vestiges from the previous restaurant to inhabit the space.
So why, exactly, is this unfrilly establishment the most exciting restaurant in Park City at the moment? Because Hana Ramen Bar isn’t about décor or some manufactured resort town atmosphere. The focus is on the food, which to put it simply, is outstanding.
The foundation of any good ramen is the broth, and Hana’s is a labor of love. 140 pounds of bones simmer for between three and five days depending on the recipe, to which fresh noodles and various other toppings are added. My personal favorite is the spicy tonkotsu. Pork bone broth is topped with chashu, tender Japanese braised pork belly, some scallions, seaweed, and a perfectly soft-boiled egg. Rayu chili oil adds just enough heat to the broth to make you notice without overwhelming the flavors.
Standards include a classic shoyu ramen with a chicken and dashi broth and a vegan miso ramen, so whatever your palate or dietary needs dictate there’s a delectable bowl of freshly-made, steaming hot ramen for you. The menu also features expanding offerings of Japanese curries, rice bowls and rotating specials. Dine in for a warm, rejuvenating après scene after a day on the hill, or order takeout online. The standard Park City price hike applies—spicy tonkotsu with an egg added runs $18—but for the money you get an easygoing dining experience with authentic scratch-made ramen. Like I said before, happiness is hot soup on a cold day.
6546 N. Landmark Dr., Park City, 435-962-9188, hanaramenbar.com