Goro & Gun, Houston's First Ramen Shop, Opening Soon Downtown
Goro and Gun are the two main characters in Tampopo, a 1985 Japanese cult classic that's often referred to as the "first ramen Western" (a play on the old spaghetti westerns such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). It's fitting, then, that Joshua Martinez's upcoming downtown restaurant would be named after the two: Not only is Goro & Gun the first ramen shop in Houston, it's also a tribute to two characters who transformed a decrepit roadside joint into a place devoted to the "art of noodle soup making."
Houston will surely appreciate Goro & Gun's noodles.
The downtown restaurant which will house Goro & Gun hasn't been home to anything successful in years. Its last resident was a sandwich shop, which closed almost as quickly as it opened. But like his fellow neighbors Charity Saloon and the upcoming Batanga and "Bad News Bar," Martinez hopes that Goro & Gun will be part of the ongoing revitalization of the downtown area near Market Street Square -- although he and partners Brad Moore and Ryan Rouse (also partners in the nearby "Bad News Bar") aren't quite ready to reveal Goro & Gun's exact location.
What he can reveal, however, is that he has big plans for the renovated shotgun-style space. Martinez has revealed the original turn-of-the-century tile floors and hopes to restore them to their original glory. He also purchased many interior fixtures and fittings during a recent auction from the 65-year-old Houston Club, which is scheduled for demolition later this year -- items like brass sconces, which will decorate the exposed brick walls, and a railing which will outline Goro & Gun's sidewalk patio when it opens in a month or so.
Martinez is most excited, however, about what's going on inside. A massive pasta extruder squats in one corner of the surprisingly large kitchen, and this is where Goro & Gun's culinary team -- executive chef David Coffman and sous chef Matt Womack -- will be pulling ramen noodles fresh every day. This means that not only will Goro & Gun be the only ramen shop in Houston, it will also be the only ramen shop in the entire country pulling its own noodles in-house.
"In New York and L.A., they have shops that only make noodles," Martinez notes. "And they make really good noodles. So why make them yourself?" That's the model that all ramen shops follow, after all, and Martinez is quick to acknowledge that both making and serving ramen noodles might be too much to handle.
Photos by Katharine Shilcutt The interior is still shaping up.
"Either we're really smart or we're really, really stupid," Martinez laughs. He has a contingency plan in place, however, with a local ramen noodle manufacturer in case it all goes horribly awry.
He's also quick to note that there's more to Goro & Gun than just noodle soup.