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Ivan Orkin confirmed to Eater today that he will not be reopening the Gotham West Market location of his popular Slurp Shop. The location has been closed since early November 2020.
It’s a loss to Hell’s Kitchen, especially as he was the anchor tenant at the market.
“The idea was to get someone really incredible and spectacular in, and that person was Ivan,” said Julian Hitchcock, who curated the initial vendors for Gotham West Market, when interviewed for W42ST’s first magazine in November 2014. “So I called Ivan — we wanted to get someone in that would help anchor it. Once Ivan signed up, it all fell into place.”
In our “War of the Ramens” in May 2016, Chris Penwarden reviewed the food, saying:
Ivan, a “Jewish kid from Long Island” with a degree in Japanese, is the American chef who won the hearts of the noodle slurping citizens of Tokyo before returning to his native New York to open Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in Gotham West Market. His cult, new wave creations now include a rich breakfast ramen soup with egg and bacon. Of course, there are those who don’t take kindly to Ivan’s westernized interpretations, but there’s no doubting the man’s dedication to what he calls “the art of slurping”.
His Spicy Red Chili Ramen is a fiery mix of spice-laden chicken broth and minced pork, topped with a ‘smashed egg’. It is big and bold, full of smoky miso and chili heat – not for the faint-hearted. It is a drier style ramen that is less about the creaminess of the broth and more about the red chili whack which slowly builds to a soaring crescendo – and a runny nose. Luckily the Slurp Shop is situated a few feet away from an ice-cream stand, which may come in handy to bring down your body temperature, post-ramen.
At the start of the pandemic, Ivan shared that it had been painful “to lose so many staff” — but that his few remaining staff members “were crushing it every day with a smile,” he added. “I will do everything I can to bring everyone back”.
Orkin will now focus on a ghost kitchen project in partnership with Flagship Restaurant Group in Nebraska. The Ivan Ramen location on the Lower East Side will remain open.
Orkin told Eater: “We had a fantastic run at Gotham and were deeply disappointed to leave our friends and neighbors, but surviving this pandemic has been all about pivoting and we are survivors.”
“I had the pleasure of working with Ivan as the opening chef for both Slurp Shop and Ivan Ramen,” said Mike Bergemann, Owner of Corner Slice at Gotham West Market. “Slurp Shop closing was a sad day for all of us at the Market. It is a stark reminder of how difficult the landscape has been for independent restaurants during the pandemic, when even an established restaurateur like Ivan is forced to permanently close a restaurant.”
Mike continued: “If there is anything I hope people glean from this, and all the other permanent restaurant closings across the city, is that there has never been a better time to support your local neighborhood restaurant, bodega, market, or slice shop. The best way to support us is by ordering directly, to keep our profits from going to the third-party delivery services.”
Phil Lavoie, COO of Gotham Organization, told us: “Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop was one of our original restaurants at Gotham West Market, and it has been great to have them for the past seven years. It’s no secret that the pandemic has been extremely challenging for restaurants, and keeping Gotham West Market open the entire time has been first and foremost to support our vendors. We will miss the Ivan Ramen team and wish them the best in their new endeavors.”