Daruma Ramen has dished out its last bowl of ramen. On Wednesday, June 17, Daruma's owners announced they are permanently closing the downtown restaurant due to the COVID-19 crisis.
"We want to thank the community for the undying support of our chicken broth ramen throughout the last 7 years," said co-owner Kayo Asazu in an emailed announcement to CultureMap. "Sadly, it has come time for us to move on to greener pastures. Due to COVID-19, Daruma Ramen will not be opening back up. This was a very tough decision to make, but we know it's the right one."
Daruma Ramen operated out of a cozy storefront on East Sixth Street before the coronavirus pandemic forced it to temporarily close. Operations then moved to sister restaurant Komé Sushi Kitchen on Airport Boulevard, which Asazu and her husband, Takehiro Asazu, also own. Asazu says Komé will continue to offer the ramen as part of its menu.
What set Daruma apart from the rest of the ramen pack was its use of chicken broth instead of traditional pork. Add to that the serene, intimate setting of its restaurant amid the chaos of Sixth Street, and stopping by for a quick slurp made for a truly unique Austin experience.
Daruma joins a growing list of staple Austin restaurants forced to shutter over the past few months, including Magnolia Cafe in Tarrytown, Threadgill's, Blue Dahlia Cafe in East Austin, and more. There have, however, been some bright spots, such as Enchiladas y Mas, which closed only to be revived by the original owner's nieces a few weeks later.
Like Enchiladas y Mas and other Austin restaurants forced to shutter in these unprecedented economic times, Asazu remains hopeful that Daruma might one day return.
"We hope to relocate Daruma Ramen sometime in the future when it is safe and healthy to do so," Asazu continued. "Until then, Kome Sushi Kitchen will carry on the legacy of our chicken broth ramen, and continue serving it at their contactless curbside take out. Thank you Austin. We'll see ya later."