Rockwall gets its own ramen joint with the opening of Ramen Head, a new restaurant opening in the city's historic downtown square, at 112 N. San Jacinto St.
Ramen Head comes from husband and wife Tommy and Tamara Kolleck, an entrepreneurial couple who wanted to do ramen at a high level of quality, with their own unique twists.
"We are major foodies," Tamara says. "I'm originally from Southern California and was a latchkey kid so cooking was my comfort. My whole life, I've always cooked. Everywhere we go, we seek out new places — especially ramen."
She also has the heritage. "I'm Filipino and Russian, third-generation, and Asian food has always been my comfort food — a bowl of hot soup is my mainstay," she says.
The couple moved to Rockwall about five years ago, where they juggle multiple enterprises, including Tommy's business doing epoxy coatings on flooring and tables, Tamara's clothes-designing business, and her profession as a nurse.
But Ramen Head was really about wanting to execute and enjoy ramen at a level they felt they couldn't find. "My husband and I are good cooks, and when we'd go out, we were disappointed and felt like we could do better," she says.
Their menu includes some inventive appetizers such as Japanese deviled eggs with chasu, and "fusion Asian street corn" which comes coated in miso butter, drizzled with sauces, and rolled in cotija cheese and furikake, alongside familiar items such as steamed buns, gyoza, chasu bowl, and a scallion pancake.
Ramen options include tonkatsu, tonkatsu light, spicy garlic, miso, spicy miso, vegan, and adobo – a Filipino twist with flavors of vinegar, soy, and garlic, and topped with 20-hour adobo marinated pork belly. They’ll also do a ramen sampler with a choice of 3 mini servings.
"Our broth is super bold and full bodied — you're not just drinking flavored water," she says.
There are also trendy bowls including chasu, chicken katsu, and vegan with tofu and mushrooms.
They'll do an exotic version of weekend brunch, with chasu eggs benedict: poached eggs on top of toasted Hawaiian bread, pork belly, and house-made Hollandaise.
Other brunch specialties include popcorn chicken katsu & waffles; vegan pancakes and waffles; breakfast tacos; and a breakfast ramen made with tonkotsu broth.
"We wanted to bring in all the different aspects of Asian street food," she says. "We're doing a fun and playful take, but we take our food and customer service seriously."
They haven't applied for a liquor license yet so when they open, it'll be BYOB. The service model will be fast-casual, and atmosphere will be upscale with a feel-good vibe and cool wall murals. They're taking over the space where Tamara previously did her clothing company, right across from the historic courthouse, and are aiming to be open in mid-December.
"Downtown Rockwall is a wonderful place to make the dream happen," she says. "We'll be the only ramen restaurant in a 30-mile radius. We felt like this is where it needs to be."