Around Town

Umai Ramen and Donburi could open this summer in Tysons West

Another Japanese restaurant in Herndon is expanding into Tysons.

Coming on the heels of Sushi Umi’s soft opening last month at Scotts Run, Umai Ramen and Rice Bowl anticipates launching its new sister restaurant, Umai Ramen and Donburi, at Tysons West this summer, according to owner and chef Jaa Preeyaporn Aroonchokthawon.

Umai had hoped to open its new location at 1500-C Cornerside Blvd — District Taco’s former site — this month, but a slow permitting and inspection process has made a June opening more likely.

“We’re waiting for the sprinkler inspection,” Preeyaporn Aroonchokthawon told FFXnow. “It takes a month already…We have a drop ceiling at the bar. We cannot do that because we’re waiting for the sprinkler inspections…That’s why we try to postpone a little bit.”

Preeyaporn Aroonchokthawon and co-founder Sirinda Liwlompaisan started Umai Ramen and Rice Bowl in September 2019, aiming to combine popular Japanese dishes with influences from their native Thailand, according to the restaurant’s website.

Located at 482 Elden Street in downtown Herndon, the restaurant serves a variety of traditional and specialty ramen soups, including curry and vegan options. The menu also features curry, teriyaki and katsu rice dishes as well as Thai chicken rice, courtesy of Kindi Chicken Rice, which can be found in the same location.

When the Tysons West space opened up, Preeyaporn Aroonchokthawon saw it as a “good opportunity” to add a second location that’s both bigger and closer to some of Umai’s customers, who come from as far away as Alexandria, Springfield and even Maryland.

At 3,212 square feet, Umai Ramen and Donburi will be roughly three times the size of its 700-square-foot predecessor, allowing it to serve more customers and offer more food and drink options.

Preeyaporn Aroonchokthawon says the menu will be generally the same with some additions, including fresh fish donburi and noodle salads. The Tysons location will also have a bigger bar that can serve liquor and more cocktails. Umai’s Herndon restaurant, which will remain its flagship, is mostly limited to beer and sake.

“There will be more fun in Tysons, because we will have more space to work on the food, and there will be more variety of food,” Preeyaporn Aroonchokthawon said. “People complain [in Herndon] about waiting in line too long, but [with] this, we can accommodate more people, and we can do bigger groups.”