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Ramen shop to open on South Division

Tory O'Haire's newest culinary venture, The Bandit Queen, sets its sights on Asian noodle cuisine with a ramen shop and tea room next door to Propaganda Doughnuts.

/Eric Tank

Underwriting support from:


117B South Division

Soft opening September 1


Tory O'Haire making ramen at Local First Street party, 2014

Tory O'Haire making ramen at Local First Street party, 2014 /Eric Tank

The man who brought Grand Rapids Full Moon Supper Club, Propaganda Doughnuts and grand prize winner of the Cooking Channel's "Doughnut Showdown" is about to open the doors to his latest eatery, The Bandit Queen, a ramen shop and tea room located adjacent to Propaganda Doughnuts on Division Avenue. 

Tory O'Haire, aka The Starving Artist, is planning a soft opening on Monday, September 1. The shop will seat 12-15 people between a bar and family style lounge table in the front. 

A house ramen featuring regional ingredients in the style of a standard Tokyo version will be constant on the menu.

"It's going to be at least stylistically traditional enough to not be in any way considered fusion cuisine," says O'Haire.

The menu will be small and always changing, featuring seasonal variations such as tonkatsu with a thicker and heavier broth and a Vietnamese ramen similar to a beef bourguignon. Daily and weekly specials will be offered as the market allows.

Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free dishes will be on the menu as well. 

"This style of cuisine lends itself well to vegan and vegetarian style of cooking without feeling like it's missing something," says O'Haire. "I'm really excited to do things that are both vegan and vegetarian. And yet they're essentially good enough that everybody's going to eat them because they're awesome, not because they're necessarily vegan or vegetarian."

The gluten free fare will be based on tteok, which is a korean rice dumpling.

"One of my favorite ways to eat it is in a kimchee stew," says O'Haire. 

The Bandit Queen also plans to offer a variety of teas, unique sodas, and other beverages to pair with a bowl of ramen. 

"Since we don't have beer, wine [or] spirits, we still want to be able to offer something really interesting and unusual, especially on the theme of the trade route," says O'Haire. "Like bringing interesting things back to your port of call." 

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