Toki Underground, the hip Washington restaurant that serves up steaming bowls of ramen and a skater-punk aesthetic, is landing in Baltimore.
The ramen and dumplings joint has applied for a liquor license to open in the city’s Better Waverly neighborhood, according to documents filed with Baltimore’s Board of Liquor License Commissioners. Jeff Jetton, a partner in the restaurant, confirmed plans for a Baltimore location.
Jetton said the new spot, which is set to take over the former Bottoms Up Bagels “BUB Hub” at 2731 Greenmount Ave., will be an “evolved version” of the snug D.C. restaurant, which features 26 seats in a space above The Pug, a boxing-themed bar on H Street.
“If you’ve ever been to Toki Underground in D.C., you will be delighted in the same way… in Baltimore,” he said.
The difference between the two restaurants will be an “evolution” rather than an “elevation,” Jetton added, although he wasn’t quite ready to share the specifics. “There’s going to be no white tablecloth.”
Toki Underground got its start in D.C. in 2011 and is credited with helping to launch a ramen craze in the capital city. The eatery is also known for drawing long lines of diners, and has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand — a designation given to restaurants deemed to offer the best value for the money spent — five times.
The menu at Baltimore’s version of Toki Underground will have some new dishes as well as stalwarts from the D.C. location, according to Jetton. Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include fried chicken steamed buns with Japanese mayo, sweet chili sauce and pickles, and the Toki Classic ramen, a bowl of tonkotsu, or pork-based broth, served with braised pork, scallions, kale, pickled ginger and a soft-boiled egg.
Jetton said the Toki team has been working with community organizations, including Waverly Main Street, as they plan for the space.
“There’s so much opportunity in Waverly and Harwood, and really amazing bones of what a vibrant street can be,” he said. “We’ve had really great discussions with our neighbors to assist in any way we can in lifting up Greenmount to have potential to be one of the great streets in the United States.”
Also working on the Baltimore opening is Christophe Richard, an interior designer and the son of the late James Beard Award-winning chef Michel Richard, who owned acclaimed D.C. restaurants Citronelle and Central.
Christophe Richard said he’s looking to continue the “high-energy, packed, exciting” spirit of D.C.’s Toki Underground while taking advantage of the Baltimore outpost’s larger footprint.
“You’ll feel comfortable going into the new Greenmount space, but it will be a new chapter in the story,” he said.