Oisa Ramen to close by the end of the year

“With so many limitations, it was hard to figure out what would be the best thing to do with Oisa Ramen Slurp & Go for everyone involved, including guests,” said owner Moe Kuroki.

Oisa Ramen
Marcelo Pedrosa, Moe Kuroki, and Manuel Castillo. –Courtesy of Oisa Ramen

Oisa Ramen Slurp & Go in downtown Boston will close by the end of 2020, and Thursday is the last day with owner Moe Kuroki at the helm of the snug, nine-seat noodle bar that serves the flavors of her native Fukuoka, Japan.

Broad Street Entertainment, which operates the adjacent Tiki Rock, will take over the eatery until it permanently closes at the end of the year, but Kuroki said it might close sooner depending on revenue. Kuroki is turning over the kitchen to sous chef Manuel Castillo and prep chef Marcelo Pedrosa.

“Those two guys have been the backbone of Oisa,” Kuroki said. “With them there, Oisa is as good as if I were there.”

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Castillo and Pedrosa will continue to dole out bowls of comforting noodles, from the vegetarian smoky truffle shoyu to the fan-favorite Oisa tonkotsu with its pork-bone broth, generous slabs of pork, and perfectly smoky burnt garlic oil.

“It was such an incredible feeling to be able to bring a little bit of my hometown, Fukuoka, and share with many,” Kuroki said. “The tiny little space was so beautiful and felt so warm. As time passed, the warmer and the more at home it felt. It was truly a blessing.”

The decision comes after months of lost business stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in March, as Kuroki deep-cleaned the restaurant with her staff, she thought the shutdown would be brief. As it stretched on, the pressures of the business and bringing stability to her family and her 9- and 12-year-old daughters reached a breaking point.

“At first, even though it was difficult to adjust, I took it as a blessing to be able to spend more time with my family,” Kuroki said. “But I knew after a few months in, there is no more going back to what my life used to be. That I need to embrace some major changes.”

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Changes are shaking up the rest of the industry, too, with well-loved restaurants closing left and right and worries mounting about the upcoming winter.

“As we live day by day with the coronavirus, there was one decision that was easy for me to make. It was to stay at home for my girls to give them some stability and comfort,” she said. “With so many limitations, it was hard to figure out what would be the best thing to do with Oisa Ramen Slurp & Go for everyone involved, including guests. I have been wanting to give a clear answer to my guests for so long. So, I feel relieved.”

Currently, Oisa is open for takeout and reservations for limited groups of guests for indoor and outdoor dining.

Oisa Ramen Slurp & Go; 1 3/4 Broad St., Boston; Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; oisa-ramen.com.

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