Coming soon: Ramen Kazama

Credit: Josh Floring (l) and Matthew Kazama are opening Ramen Kazama at 34th & Nicollet. Submitted image

The friends behind the new ramen restaurant coming to 3400 Nicollet Ave. met at Kabuki in Eden Prairie, when Josh Floring was the bartender behind the sushi bar and Matthew Kazama was the sushi chef.

They started working on Kazama’s dream to open a ramen restaurant more than a year ago.

“He was doing ramen over at Fuji Ya and getting super passionate about it and talked about opening up a ramen shop,” Floring said.

They tried to push the idea forward a little bit each month. Floring analyzed commercial traffic to help choose the former Mama Pizza storefront — he’s the founder of retail real estate brokerage Swellco. (Floring helped Patisserie 46 find its home, and he’s currently working with retailers like Zula Juice, an organic cold-pressed juice company.)

Floring said patrons can expect to see the founders’ hobbies appear in the restaurant design. He grew up skateboarding and snowboarding, and Kazama is a musician who plays with the band Birthday Suits.

They hope to hook into the popularity of Eat Street when Nicollet Avenue reopens thru the Kmart site.

“That coming south as time goes on is just a great thing,” Floring said.