Downtown Phoenix is getting a double helping of noodle restaurants this winter. Otakumen and Pat & Waldo’s, located on the street level of the historic Phoenix’s Orpheum Lofts (114 W. Adams St.), are two fast casual noodle-based restaurants that share a modern dining space right along the light rail. Otakumen serves Japanese-inspired dishes, including an eclectic ramen selection. Pat & Waldo’s is a modern Italian eatery that dishes classic with a twist. The two restaurants, owned by 24-year-old chef Marco DiSanto, are celebrating their grand opening Jan. 8.
DiSanto and family invested nearly one million dollars into renovating the 2,700-square-foot restaurant space that overlooks the light rail. The interior was outfitted by Katz Design Group, which was inspired by the malleable shapes noodles can take. The light fixtures, decor and even the dining room chairs are a mixture of swirls and curls reminiscent of the restaurants’ fares. The concepts also brought nearly 40 new earning opportunities for passionate pasta people in downtown Phoenix.
In addition to updating the dining options available to the business district’s lunch hour, the new restaurants will have extended evening hours for the night owls. On Fridays and Saturdays, Otakumen and Pat & Waldo’s will serve through 3 a.m.
Noodles are universal, DiSanto says about his decision to open Otakumen and Pat & Waldo’s.
“It’s the ultimate comfort food,” says DiSanto, adding that they transcend cultural barriers. “It may be a foreign food, but diners are comfortable in the fact that there’s a noodle in it. That brings everything together.”
Otakumen menu highlights include:
- Yuzu Kosho ($8) featuring 50/50 chicken and dashi broth, served with tonkotsu noodles and seasoned with a special blend yuzu kosho and Japanese sea salt. Topped with two slices of chicken chashu, seared enoki mushrooms with a pan-fried shishito pepper, seasoned egg half, shredded leek and red onion strips. Finished with butter and garlic oil.
- Ninniku ($7.50) featuring Tonkotsu broth with Tokyo noodles seasoned with roasted garlic paste and Japanese sea salt, topped with pork belly chashu served with king oyster mushroom slices, fried garlic, garlic chips and red onions. Topped with butter, toasted sesame seeds and blackened scallion oil.
- Chukka ($6) featuring Tokyo noodles cooked and chilled, served with a variety of cold vegetables, two slices of chicken chashu topped with julienned cucumbers, leeks, and thin sliced tomatoes with menma and seasoned egg half served with a housemade yuzu vinaigrette on the side.
Pat & Waldo’s menu highlights include:
- Amatriciana sauce over angel hair pasta ($7.50)
- Wild mushroom alfredo with chicken and fettuccine ($8)
- Fettuccine with zucchini, carrots and browned sage butter ($7)
Marco DiSanto’s industry origins were humble, starting as a dishwasher in a ramen restaurant between semesters at college. Six weeks later, he was a ramen cook. After nine weeks, he was the head ramen chef. By chance, his coworker was a master sake sommelier who had started one of the first sushi schools in the U.S. He taught DiSanto the foundation of what would become Otakumen.
DiSanto — a Chinese-Italian American — already had roots in the restaurant biz that trace back to Connecticut the ‘20s. His Italian dishes, showcased at Pat & Waldo’s, are derived from index cards with handwritten recipes coveted by his New Haven relatives. Pat, DiSanto’s grandfather, and Waldo, his great-great uncle, worked out of his relative Tony’s restaurant. From there, DiSanto got his chops in the noodle biz.
Diners are encouraged to stop by the restaurant during its grand opening to participate in a Ramen-4-Ramen promotion. If they bring a packet of instant ramen with them on Jan. 8, they can trade it for half off of a bowl of ramen at Otakumen. The first 50 people to donate instant ramen, however, will get a free bowl of ramen! The collected packages will be donated to St. Mary’s Food Bank after the grand opening!
For more on Otakumen and Pat & Waldo’s, visit otakumen.com and patandwaldos.com.
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Address: Otakumen and Pat & Waldo’s, 114 W. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ
Websites: otakumen.com | patandwaldos.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday
Phone Number: Otakumen 480.454.7905 | Pat and Waldo’s 480.454.7877