Words & Deeds

New Boise restaurant to serve ramen and ping pong. (Yes!)

Yo, college students and bachelors: This is what ramen looks like in Japan. RamaPong’s version will be a Boise take on Japanese-American fusion, says Andrew Hanebutt, marketing manager at Boise Fry Co.
Yo, college students and bachelors: This is what ramen looks like in Japan. RamaPong’s version will be a Boise take on Japanese-American fusion, says Andrew Hanebutt, marketing manager at Boise Fry Co. TNS

Nobody really knew what to do with the basement storage space below Boise Fry Co. in the Adelmann Building.

Then ownership began to noodle with concepts. Staff bounced ideas back and forth.

RamaPong — possibly the greatest thing ever to happen in Downtown Boise — was born.

Combining two of life’s deepest pleasures, RamaPong is slated to open in late September, offering steaming bowls of ramen and hot games of ping pong in an 1,800-square-foot bar and restaurant area.

“The idea just came to us,” Boise Fry Co. CEO Brad Walker explains.

Ramen? Pong? Full bar? Open until 3 a.m. on weekends?

Brother, I know genius when I see it.

Perhaps it’s because I once owned three ping-pong tables. (Outdoor table, covered-patio table, indoor table. This made sense in my 20s.) Perhaps it’s because I munched raw Top Ramen right up to the altar at my wedding, knowing it would be my final taste of bachelorhood. (Exaggeration, but I DO miss it so. Frozen burritos, too, horrifyingly enough.)

RamaPong is billed as “Boise’s, and possibly the country’s, first ramen/ping pong restaurant and bar.”

I recommend franchising this business immediately.

If you’re like me and haven’t visited Asia, you might not be familiar with the flavorful type of ramen that will be offered. Apparently, it is not the 10-cent grocery-store bargain that has provided sustenance for single guys for decades. (Two packages. One pot of boiling water. One entire pack of Saltines for more salt and calories. Chase with a tallboy. Bon appetit!)

At RamaPong, actual nutrition is rumored to be involved. And chopsticks. And slurping. And grunts of primal food joy. You will be able to sit right in front of the chef, so you can watch this hifalutin concoction get created.

“It’s going to be something that you have and you’re like, ‘Why haven’t I had something like this ever before?’ ” says Andrew Hanebutt, marketing manager at Boise Fry Co. “Ramen is all about the broth. It’s about the noodles. You get all these ingredients that are built into it. All these vegetables and proteins and meats. Basically, it’s a soup — but it’s so much more than that.”

“We’re looking for ramen enthusiasts,” he adds.

Everything will be made in-house except for the noodles. RamaPong might create its own noodles in the future, but a high-quality noodle from a supplier will be used at first.

Seven or eight ping-pong tables will make this a legitimate pong parlor. Seriousness of competition will range from beer pong to actual Forrest-Gump-style table tennis.

With bowls of hot ramen being transported to tables, ping pong balls flying around and beers flowing, it seems probable that occasional spillage might occur. Consequently, tournament action will take place on a special ping-pong table protected by red tape — no food or beverage. “That’s like the only table you can reserve to play,” Hanebutt says. “It’ll be hilarious. We plan to make it a giant spectacle, for sure.”

RamaPong does not plan to allow minors inside unless lunch service is added, which will be considered down the road, Hanebutt says. Initially, RamaPong’s hours will be 4 p.m. to close.

So what is a guy supposed to do while waiting for RamaPong to open? Think about the businesses already in the Adelmann: Boise Fry Co., Spacebar Arcade, Press & Pony, Dharma Sushi & Thai, and soon, Waffle Me Up. That corner of Capitol Boulevard and Idaho Street is becoming a one-stop, multi-faceted entertainment destination.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Hanebutt says. “And I think Boise’s really going to love it.”

Entertainment notes

▪  About 1,200 people turned out to see Ana Popovic at the Boise Blues Festival on July 17, according to the Boise Blues Society. Previously held in Julia Davis Park, this year’s event took place at the Idaho Botanical Garden.

Organizers are unsure whether they will have next year’s festival at the same location.

▪  Boise singer-songwriter Ryan Stevenson’s single, “Eye of the Storm,” is topping Christian music charts. Stevenson will head out on another 50-city tour with Newsboys this fall, he says, and will be an opener on the DC Talk reunion tour in 2017.

▪  Underappreciated, now-defunct psychedelic trio Caustic Resin will see its 1998 album “The Medicine is All Gone” reissued on vinyl as a deluxe double-LP Sept. 9. This album is a must-own for any fan of ’90s indie-rock, not to mention Boise music history. It’s one of those artistic moments that just “happened,” thanks to a perfect intersection of Idaho time and space. Mark Lanegan calls it “a forgotten classic of American underground rock.”

In Scene magazine July 29

▪  Matt Damon was just in Boise and Meridian. Now his movie, “Jason Bourne,” arrives for the masses.

▪  A review of Horsewood’s Kitchen, a new restaurant in downtown Caldwell near the banks of Indian Creek.

▪  A look at this year’s Idaho Commission on the Arts literary fellows.

Michael Deeds: 208-377-6407, @michaeldeeds