BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya Calls It Quits

The ramen restaurant group promises a remix and reopening elsewhere

photo by Tristan Pearman / courtesy of Tatsu-Ya

After eight months in operation, BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya will extinguish its smoker on Anchor Lane on Sunday, June 18.

The barbecue-ramen mashup from the acclaimed Tatsu-Ya group took over the space vacated by the late, lamented Contigo in October 2022, but failed to gain traction in the same way other Tatsu-Ya concepts have.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, June 14, BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya announced that they were "hitting the remix button on BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya and cooking up a future iteration at a different location, bringing you a whole new experience." Was the fusion concept ahead of its time? Was the menu, which included barbecue tsukemen and smoked shoyu paitan, too esoteric or inaccessible? Or was the concept not the right fit for the location, which straddles the Mueller, Cherrywood, and MLK neighborhoods? It's hard to say, but the restaurant's short tenure suggests that the demand just wasn't there.

The appeal of Contigo was the "hanging out in your buddy's backyard" feel, where you could meet friends for happy hour or take your parents for brunch. Families and raconteurs mingled there effortlessly, as there was something for everyone, from pigs in blankets to fried green beans to an expertly curated bar and delicious craft cocktails. The community lost a valuable gathering space when Contigo owners Ben Edgerton, Andrew Wiseheart, and Dana Curley decided to close at the end of 2021.

The Tatsu-Ya group has enjoyed phenomenal success in Austin since its first location on Research Blvd. opened in 2012. There are now five locations around Austin and one in Houston, and the group has spawned a number of other concepts, including the patio bar Domo Alley-Gato, the shabu-shabu concept DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, the otherworldly Tiki Tatsu-Ya, and Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, described as "Japanese izakaya meets Texas smokehouse."

It's unfortunate that BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya was unable to lasso the same energy that made Contigo a decade-long success at 2027 Anchor Lane. According to the group's representative, "Tatsu-Ya has no immediate plans for the Anchor Lane space." I humbly submit that Tiki Tatsu-Ya would absolutely slay in this space, and I won't even charge a consulting fee for this insight.

BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya will be open today (Thursday, June 15) from 5-10pm. and Fri.-Sun. from 11am-10pm.

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BBQ Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Contigo, Ramen Tatsu-Ya

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