There’s a simmering culture of ramen enthusiasm quickly gaining steam in Berks County and beyond.
That culture has deepened deliciously with the addition of Noodl: a new, fast-casual ramen spot that held its official opening Tuesday, Jan. 17 on Penn Avenue in West Reading.
“To be able to serve people warm noodles and broth is just warming for the soul,” said Cody Schmidt, Noodl general manager.
The store was packed with customers Tuesday, all eager to try Noodl’s healthy take on Asian-inspired comfort food topped with satisfying portions of proteins, veggies and more.
“It was positive. We got a lot of people in throughout the day,” Schmidt said of the opening, “We’re really happy with how it went.”
Noodl had a few soft openings previously and had garnered positive feedback from ramen fans, said Kevin Kozo, Noodl owner.
“Every customer said the same thing: ‘It’s just the right amount of food,’” Kozo said.
Taste, too, has been a highlight for patrons, according to Kozo.
“I’ve heard consistently that the flavors are outstanding, it doesn’t matter which one (bowl),” Kozo said. “So that was really good to hear.”
Noodl’s menu includes five signature bowls, a handful of shareable options, and a build-your-own-bowl option that lets customers choose from a variety of carb types, dressings and broths, as well as a bevy of veggies, add-ons and garnishes.
Proteins to pick from include ramen staples like pork belly and Korean beef barbecue, in addition to lighter options like roasted chicken and tofu.
“Our menu is Asian influenced, from all different parts of Asia,” Kozo said. “A lot of different spices and flavors, and vibrant colors for vegetables.”
There are plans to expand the menu in the future, but for now, Kozo said the focus is on offering the best possible product.
The strength of that product is thanks in part to the expertise of Schmidt, whose passion for Asian cooking blossomed in his own kitchen, and through his previous work as general manager of Oori, a Korean-inspired eatery in Pottstown.
“Our manager is really focused on making sure that we really take our time to make that first impression,” Kozo said.
Schmidt said what sets Noodl apart is its complex, fresh ingredients and savory broth.
“A richer broth is what is really enticing for a lot of people,” Schmidt said. “You’re not just heating up a little water … there’s so much more to ramen. It’s all about the toppings and garnishes as well.”
Manager Cody Schmidt inside Noodl, a new restaurant at 428 Penn Avenue in West Reading. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)
The restaurant’s interior is designed in a contemporary style, Kozo said, with some Asian influence, and an emphasis on clean lines and open space.
“It’s just a great looking restaurant,” Kozo said.
He said the aesthetic aims to create an open, comfortable atmosphere while minimizing wait times in a fast-casual environment.
In keeping with the modern theme, the restaurant offers the option to order in store via touchscreen kiosks. Customers can also order in-store using their phones or by cashier.
The restaurant also allows ordering through delivery services like Doordash, Grubhub and Uber Eats.
Noodl, 428 Penn Ave., in West Reading is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Noodl recently opened at 428 Penn Ave., West Reading. (BILL UHRICH – READING EAGLE)