Happy Gillis owner Josh Eans to open ramen shop in Columbus Park this summer

Chef Josh Eans, one of the founders of Blanc Burgers, purchased the popular Columbus Park restaurant Happy Gillis Cafe & Hangout in 2013. Previous owner Todd Schulte had also operated his Uncommon Stock soup business out of the garage space adjacent to Happy Gillis before moving that operation west of the Crossroads. Now Eans has a plan for that garage: ramen.

Today, Eans launches a Kickstarter campaign to turn the garage into a ramen-only restaurant.

Eans is seeking $37,000 to turn the 450-square-foot space into the Columbus Park Ramen Shop. (Right now, he uses it for storage, including for his kids’ toys; Eans lives with his wife, Abbey-Jo, and their three children, in the apartment above Happy Gillis.) The restaurant will have 12-14 seats; he plans to offer four or five ramen choices and a selection of canned beer.

“It’s going to be a straightforward ramen noodle shop with house-made kimchi and house-made pickles,” he says. “And canned craft beer and, perhaps, Japanese sodas. Nothing else. That’s why the name is so simple. We didn’t want any cool hipster name. This is going to be a place to get a bowl of ramen, a beer and soda or tea.”

When it opens — Eans, if the funding comes through, says he could be up and running by July — the dinner-only venue will serve ramen four nights a week. “I’ll be using the Happy Gillis kitchen,” he says. “And the kitchen can’t handle two dining rooms going at the same time.”

Eans says the Kickstarter funding would pay for construction costs. “We’re going to have to put in a new bathroom,” he says. “We’ll also have an outdoor patio between the two restaurants.” It’s also going to cover the cost of Paul Mallory’s custom-made ramen bowls. (Mallory’s coffee mugs have long helped make Happy Gillis so charming.)

Is Eans ready to take on the stress of running two different restaurants, operating on two different time schedules?

“We might as well kill ourselves while we’re young,” he says. “We’re already feeling pressure, but we’re also already paying rent on the garage, and having the new place will free us up to hire the extra staff that we need. Right now, we’re doing everything ourselves — balancing the books, making soup, mopping the floors.

“This won’t be a complicated venture,” he adds. “We just want people to come in and eat ramen.”

The campaign is live here.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink