UDON Asian Food, Spain's largest Asian restaurant chain, has announced the launch of its first U.S. location in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.
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The restaurant, located at 265 NW 24th St., will soon be open to the public. The new 2,500-square-foot space is just steps away from Wynwood 25, a residential and mixed-use building in the heart of the city's cultural scene. The restaurant has a capacity of 137 people and has both indoor and outdoor dining on the terrace.
UDON Asian Food is a one-of-a-kind concept that serves healthy, high-quality food in a relaxed environment with a clean, minimalist design made of natural materials. Traditional Asian Tatemae patterns contrast with a lively and edgy style in the restaurant locations. Jordi Pascual and Jordi Vidal, co-founders of UDON Asian Food, presently run 70 restaurants across Spain and Portugal and are on a quest to extend the company's global footprint to 100 sites by 2024. Dase Marc Alvarez, an internationally recognized graffiti artist, is featured in the new Wynwood location, paying homage to the community's historical arts sector.
"As we continue to grow from Spain to Miami, and soon to the Caribbean, we aim to maintain the same quality, nutritious dishes and the impeccable casual service we've been recognized for all these years," said co-founder Pascual. "We couldn't be more excited to bring UDON's cooked-to-order dishes to Wynwood. We felt the creativity of the neighborhood matched our innovative character and restless palates, so it would be an ideal place to offer a personable, yet distinctive dining experience."
Alberto Gomez, Executive Chef and Director of I+D, will be on hand for the restaurant's opening to ensure that UDON's typical dishes are prepared consistently. The original dishes from UDON Asian Food are healthy without sacrificing flavor. There are Udon, Ramen, and Soba noodles on the menu and Asian-inspired tapas, rice dishes, and vegan and vegetarian options. The Corral Chicken Yakisoba and sushi rolls prepared with noodles instead of rice are the most popular dishes. Each meal is made using the freshest ingredients for the best flavor, which are typically acquired locally.
UDON Asian Cuisine, Spain's leading Asian food restaurant, began as a family business in 2004 and has grown to become a model of high-quality Asian gastronomy, inspired by Japanese noodle bars with more than 400 years of history-making noodles. The chain has grown to open 70 restaurants and employ 850 people across Spain and Portugal due to its success.
How was udon born?
Jordi Pascual: We started in Barcelona with a new concept 18 years ago. We are noodle specialists, and that's where our name comes from. UDON is the generic name of a type of pasta that is the most consumed in Japan. Then we grew in Spain until we reached the entire national geography and expanded to Portugal and Andorra. We had been thinking about expanding into the United States for some time now. It is not only in the United States but also in Latin America, where we are opening in the Dominican Republic. In the end, the place, the decor, the service, the food, the presentation, the music; everything goes in accordance with the experience we want to give on the premises combined with tasty but healthy dishes. We use, for example, vegetable protein. The soy we use is low in sodium, and then we also implement sustainability.
How is UDON different from other noodle spots?
Jordi Pascual: We know the tradition very well. I traveled to Japan when I was 10 years old for the first time. The idea came from Japan's relationship with the family business. My father's company has had a relationship with Japan for more than 50 years, and we have adapted the cuisine. We not only have Japanese dishes, but we also have dishes from other Asian countries like Thai dishes; we are introducing elements from the Korean gastronomy, such as kimchi, but what we do is adapt traditional recipes to the palette and local products. In addition, we provide an experience and excellent service. We care a lot about training our employees, the attention we give our guests and the detail. That is what differentiates UDON from other noodle places. A Spanish artist that has done murals in Wynwood did one for the Wynwood location because we wanted to give this new place a special touch to generate a great atmosphere and adapt to the local community.
Why was Wynwood in Miami chosen as the first UDON U.S. location?
Jordi Pascual: We did a study to determine the best place to open in the United States. We did not consider Miami from the start, but we based the study on demographics and the restaurant sector. We did a benchmark, and we even looked at where the restaurants in our industry worked the best, then also at the demographic level, etc. Each time our map got smaller and smaller until we concluded. And it's funny because Texas and Florida appeared as the two states where we had the best chance of success, but what determined Florida? First, think of the emotional connection between Florida and Miami; being Spanish, the Hispanic community is also significant here. We also have projects in Latin America, and besides, we love Miami. And Wynwood, well, when we started 18 years ago, we started in a neighborhood in Barcelona called "El Born," which has many similarities with Wynwood. El Born is a transgressive and artistic neighborhood. And it seemed to us that Wynwood fit very well with this idea that we had for a new location, the area, and the target audience because the Wynwood audience is also young and likes to have fun, which fits our product and price target.
Do you plan to open in other Miami neighborhoods?
Jordi Pascual: We are already looking for another place in Miami. And our idea would be for now to continue growing in Miami, then other areas in Florida and beyond. But for us, Miami is an important city.
What do you expect the local response to be?
Jordi Pascual: Well, we think people will like it, and it's going to work. Otherwise, we wouldn't have taken this step. And of course, in the beginning, just like we did in Spain, we will have to do it very well, make it known and let people try it. And as people try it, they will surely be familiarized, because we have an excellent product, and we are convinced that they will like it.
UDON Asian Food is opening on June 1, 2022. For additional information visit the website.
Photography by: Courtesy Valeria Mendoza, UDON Asian Food