One Man’s Dream to Bring Ramen to Long Beach

As a foodie, I must point out the one massive hole in the Long Beach culinary scene: ramen. Genuine, authentic, Japanese ramen. Tonkotsu or Shio style I care not. I want the kind of ramen that you can find at Tsujita or Daikokuya in Los Angeles and by the culinary gods, I don’t want to have travel 20 miles to get it.

Duncan 01Long Beach resident Duncan McGuire [pictured left with his fiancé, Colleen Fitzpatrick] agrees, which is why the man is using Kickstarter to hopefully make his dream of bringing noodles to the LBC come true.

“The scene in Long Beach, at least since I moved here in 2000 to raise my daughter, has always been awesome,” Duncan said. “The greasers, hipsters, foodies, deathrockers and goths, college students, working class, and now those tattooed parents in their thirties and forties with kids into the same music as mom and dad… The different ethnicities all coming together is rad. Add that with the location seated right between LA and Orange County and it seems to me to be destined for success.”

Duncan had always dreamed of restaurants. His first one—an Irish pub named Hellcat Maggie’s—was ultimately shelved due to the reality of supporting a child and paying for life’s endless costs. Working in a government job, he let 11 years pass by before deciding that it was officially time to go big or go home.

Duncan 03Ducan’s idea, dubbed Cocktail Sideshow, revolves around a bar that offers the Japanese comfort food. In his opinion, it’s cheap and delicious and in areas like Costa Mesa and Torrance, a gastro-essential.

“Cerritos and Cypress have a couple of ramen joints but they don’t compete with the same caliber of those in LA or Torrance,” Duncan said. “Ramen is having this huge boom here and right now—and it’s quickly becoming the new pho and sushi of this generation. A lot of people are turned off by the idea based solely on their association with grocery store packaged instant noodles, which taste nothing like real ramen.”

Duncan cooks his ramen in a variety of styles: Hokkaido, a relative newcomer in the ramen game; the Korabuta pork-based Tonkotsu, common in Kyushu and Hakata-tu; and the Shio style [pictured], quite possibly the oldest form of ramen, which uses copious amounts of salt and any combination of chicken, veggies, fish, and seaweed.

Duncan’s obsession with drinks almost parallels that of his love for ramen: he wants to include a craft beer tap list—”Hangar 24, Bootlegger’s, Angel City, Eagle Rock, Golden Road, Bear Mountain, Monkisk… Y’know, all local,” Duncan said—and cocktail menu (Duncan says he is “addicted” to creating his own bitters).

“Long Beach has been full of clubs and craft beer bars and dive bars—and I love dive bars,” Duncan said. “But we’re missing out on an eclectic bar who is own and ran by someone who not only loves booze, but also is willing to change with the times and create an establishment that will welcome a vast array of clientele and treat its employees with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

To donate to Duncan’s Kickstarter, click here.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.