New ramen restaurant opens in Jacksonville

Domu serves up handmade noodles to growing crowd at its Town Center location

By Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The wait is over for the opening of Domu at The Strand, across from the St. Johns Town Center on Jacksonville's Southside.

The Orlando-based restaurant is serving up craft ramen with a twist. From the noodles to the broth, everything is made in-house. 

The restaurant and bar on Town Center Parkway celebrated its grand opening the evening of Aug. 9. Since then, the lines at Domu have been out the door.

"It's more of an experience when you come here versus just opening up a package and boiling up some noodles," said Sonny Nguyen, Domu owner and chef. 

Nguyen is passionate about staying true to Japanese roots. The noodles in each bowl of ramen are handmade and pulled from a machine imported straight from Japan.

"We're using the same machines that they use everywhere in Japan," Nguyen said. "So it's just really going back to the roots, with my own spin on everything."

The broth is creamy rich with flavor and takes hours each day to make.

"Over the time we've been open, we've just carefully been curating it a little bit more -- fixing it, adjusting it -- until right now, I think it's the perfect broth," Nguyen said.

The cherry on top is Domu's signature brulee egg.

"Most ramen shops have a soft boiled egg, but we do something a little different here," Nguyen explained. "We brulee the top so it's got that sweet and salty aspect to it."

The flavors hit every taste bud in your mouth. Nguyen said that's what has earned them international attention with features on the Food Network in Brazil and the Travel Channel.

Now, people in the River City are slurping it up, and it's a huge win for Nguyen.

"I'm very happy that Jacksonville has been very receptive to it," Nguyen said. "We don't know what to expect when we move into a new city. But I feel like coming in to Jacksonville, a brand new market, and getting the response that we're getting, it's great and I can't complain."

Domu's Jacksonville location is open from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The bar opens at 5 p.m. daily.

Down the road, Domu plans to add brunch on the weekends. Even further down the road, look out for "Build-A-Ramen" Mondays, when you can pick and choose exactly what you want in your ramen. 

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