We are a family business through and through. Each person plays an important role to bring you the best ramen in Columbus. We started the business in March of 2019 and finally opened in February of 2020. We are all working together everyday building, cooking, looking at finances, designing, and everything in between. Over the years we have perfected our ramen recipe and truly believe it is the very best. When you eat at Ramen Alley you are part of our family and we hope you can taste the love and care we put into every bowl.
Assuming all goes well with our green card process, Shigeyuki Yanagawa (we call him Shige) will be our head chef. Shige, who is married to Kyo, has been sharing his expertise with us for many years. Shige has over 16 years of restaurant experience in Tokyo, Japan. He actually trained in Chinese style ramen but has been perfecting Tokyo style ramen. Throughout this process of opening a restaurant we realize one of our biggest hurdles doesn’t have anything to do with food, it’s the language barrier. But Shige will soon master English as well! Kyo came to Bonnie and Tony as a foreign exchange student over 20 years ago. Their friendship has remained strong over the years. Kyo is in charge of all the recipes and ordering and works hard everyday to make sure we are using our ingredients well and ordering the best food we possibly can.
One set of co-owners of this establishment are Bonnie and Tony Wittman. They have dreamed of opening a restaurant despite their lack of any real restaurant experience. They both bring so much to the table. Bonnie was a Director and Actuary for Allstate for over 30 years and she keeps us all financially accountable, like literally every penny. Tony is a Jack of all Trades and pretty much does everything. He teaches and is a full time Athletic Director for St. Peter’s which means you can find him at the restaurant at weird hours night and day. They have been married for 32 years and are really hoping that after the restaurant opens they can say 33!
The other set of co-owners are Gordon and Kay Craig. Kay is Bonnie's older and wiser sister and grew up in Japan. She is now our assistant chef but does pretty much everything. She has over 30 years experience as a landscape architect although now she is retired. Her eye for detail is impeccable and she has designed our restaurant beautifully. Throughout the building process she has always kept the bigger picture in mind. Kay is excited to work with her family and share her love of Japanese food and culture. Gordon is another Jack of all trades. He spent countless hours making our tables and countertops, welding sinks, and building just about everything. As the restaurant opens you may think Gordon is absent, but don't worry he is just behind our very large dishwasher! He has just recently retired from Eli Lilly after over 25 years. This restaurant could not function without these two. They now live in Morristown but we are hoping they will relocate to Columbus in the near future.
Alyssa is the daughter of Tony and Bonnie and was just two years old when Kyo came to the U.S. Alyssa is behind all of the social media and is probably the face you will see as you are ordering your ramen. She works on all the technology and keeps track of all schedules and employees and paperwork and has mastered our gyoza machine. She has a degree in music education but has always loved the restaurant industry.
We strive to involve our local businesses and promote the talented people within our community as much as we can. We also believe in being good stewards of what we have been given by trying to buy and use local, fresh ingredients. If you have any questions about where something was made or who might have made some of our products please don't hesitate to ask. Just about everything in this restaurant tells a story!