|Photo courtesy Pete Lazar (aka CrazyPete)|
I didn't think Totto would open soon because the first time I went by in March there was a months-old layer of dust on everything and they hadn't started renovations.
When I went by three weeks later it looked much the same except for a few ladders, additional tables and chairs, and some shelves.
Then I saw that they were hiring. It seems they decided not to renovate. When I stopped by tonight it was too dark to take pictures but they look like they could open any day now. There were tables with flowers on them and it's all cleaned up. Unfortunately, no sign indicating an opening date, hours, or a menu. Some quick research turned up Boston Restaurant Talk reporting an opening date of Saturday, May 3rd. This is great news for those who love ramen but don't or can't eat pork. Totto's ramen broth is chicken-based and pork-free.
Cambridge and Somerville have four Japanese-owned ramenyas, though two are the same business.
Snappy Ramen, 420 Highland Ave.
Owner: veteran restauranteur Kazu Aotani
Sapporo Ramen's original location, 1815 Mass Ave.
Owners: Manabu Ito and Taiji Mineo
Yume Wo Katare, 1923 Mass Ave.
Owner: Tsuyoshi Nishioka
Sapporo Ramen's second location inside H Mart, 581 Mass Ave.
Owners: Manabu Ito and Taiji Mineo in partnership with José Garcia of Ebi Sushi
In Allston, if you get out at the Packard's Corner stop on the B Green Line, you'll find three ramenyas on Brighton Ave. Pikaichi and Totto are Japanese-owned. Inaka is owned by a Taiwanese-Japanese-American.
Pikaichi, 1 Brighton Ave.
Owners: Taka & Ritsuko Akatsu
Inaka, 72 Brighton Ave.
Owner: Jim Chen
Totto Ramen, 169 Brighton Ave.
Ryuichi "Bobby" Munekata (5/4/14: I'm actually no longer sure who owns the Allston Totto. Eater reported that the person behind the restaurant is Nghi Nguyen, a former lawyer.)