Kenzo Raman is a Canadian based, authentic Japanese Ramen noodle restuarant. Originally Kenzo started out in Japan however never made it into the Canadian market until Jane and Daniel Park decided to open their business in Toronto 2002. Ramen, which has won the status of the national food in Japan actually has it's roots in China. When the Japan-China Amity treaty concluded, many people emigrated from China where they introduced ramen in Japan.
There were many Chinese restaurants in the foreign concessions of Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki that targetted the Chinese people as they favoured their homeland cuisine. At the time, as most Chinese people came from provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, the Chinese restaurants in Japan mainly served food native to those areas. Among these dishes were ramen.
In the early 1900's a stallholer who is believed to be the pioneer of modern Japanese ramen, started to sell ramen in the Yokohama Chinese districts. The ramen was not the ramen we know today. It gradually changed from Chinese to Japanese style over a long period of time due to three major innovations; adding soy sauce to salt flavoured soup, curling the noodles which had been straight, and creating a new broth made from various types of dried fish. Ramen became increasingly popular with the introduction of instant ramen in 1958 and since then it has prevailed as a convenient and affordable homemade dish.
Daniel and Jane wanted to fill a niche in Toronto's food market in the early 2000's. With the saturation of sushi restaurants, they came to a conclusion to open an authentic Japanese ramen house. After a couple years of studying abroad to learn the in's and out of the ramen business, they opened their first store in 2002 at 6180 Yonge st Toronto. Upon it's grand opening business started out slow however within a very short timespan, the restaurant became flooded with customers waiting in line to try out Toronto's newest food craze.
With the initial success of Kenzo Ramen, they were able to open their second restaurant at Kennedy and Markham in 2005 in order to target a larger asian demographic and within a few years opened their third location. This time around Daniel and Jane felt they needed to increase their exposure by moving their business to the busy downtown core and open their third Kenzo in 2008 at 138 Dundas St W. The business flourished and profits skyrocketed. It was during this time that Daniel and Jane saw a real future and opportunity to continue their chain which would become one of the first and most successful ramen restaurant in Toronto.
With the immense success of the Dundas branch, they were able to open several location in the downtown area within close proximity of each other. Shortly after in 2010 the fourth restaurant opened at 372 Bloor St W and in the following year they had opened their fifth restaurant at 522 Yonge St. From then on they would continue to open several locations across Toronto including 4860 Yonge St in 2013 (Yonge / Sheppard), 720 Burnhamthorpe Rd W in 2014 (Missisuaga), and 761 Queen St W in 2015.
Sometime in 2014 Daniel and Jane began to notice the increase in other ramen restaurants in vicinity of their restaurants and decided to expand beyond Toronto and focus on major university cities. This led to opening another location in Waterloo (2014), and St. Catharines (2017) London(2017) and Hamilton(2017) and Oakville(2018) which continue to be highly profitable. Currently they are in the process of opening more locations in Oshawa.