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Posted on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Tomukun Noodle Bar opening this spring at McKinley Towne Centre in downtown Ann Arbor

By Paula Gardner


Tom Yon poses in the front entrances of Tomukun Noodle Bar on East Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor. The bar will offer Japanese ramen and udon dishes along with a sake bar.

Melanie Maxwell |

Construction is moving ahead quickly in the space on East Liberty where a “welcome” sign at McKinley Towne Centre promises that Tomukun Noodle Bar will open.

Co-owner Thomas Yon said the flooring will be added this week and the interior wood trim will be done next week.

Then by early March, Yon plans to start hiring wait staff and cooks to work under co-owner and chef Noerung Hang as the team heads toward a spring opening date.

“We’re pretty much set,” Yon said. “We feel very prepared and ready for the spring.”

Tomukun is the first restaurant venture for Yon, an Ann Arbor resident who has spent the last three years managing Yotsuba Japanese Restaurants in Ann Arbor and West Bloomfield.


The interior of Tomukun, where new flooring will be installed this week and wood trim will be installed in early March.

Melanie Maxwell |

The goal with Tomukun, he said, is to bring an affordable, trendy and uniquely Asian concept to the city.

“It’s something different that Ann Arbor doesn’t have right now,” said Yon.

Yon, who is Asian-American, said he hopes to replicate the experience found in many larger cities, where customers seeking Asian cuisine can relax with a drink over shared appetizers in a sophisticated setting.

The interior design, he said, will be “very fresh, very contemporary.”

He’s applied for a liquor license, and envisions a menu that includes Japanese beer, Korean rice wines and sake.

His food menu will include small-plate offerings and the restaurant’s namesake noodle dishes, priced form $8-10.

“If you spend something like that now, you’re going for a lower-end dining experience,” Yon said. “We believe with our (menu prices) and our atmosphere that we can create a good experience.”

The restaurant, which will seat up to 55 patrons, is located in the eastern part of McKinley Towne Centre, the 240,000-square-foot mixed-use center comprising two buildings separated by an alley. It's owned and managed by McKinley Inc.

Tomukun will be among three retail tenants in the east building, formerly a National City bank branch. One space is available, while Kinko's/FedEx will be moving from its long-time location at the southwest corner of Liberty and Maynard.

The location, Yon said, positions the restaurant close to campus but also close to the downtown business district, reflecting his target audience of both students and professionals.

“I think Liberty will eventually become where everyone hangs out,” Yon said. “With a couple of more bars and cool places to go, it can be a really exciting place for Ann Arbor.”

Paula Gardner is Business Director at Contact her by email or follow her on Twitter.



Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 10:20 p.m.

@Jim - I am glad you mentioned Matsuchan. I am looking forward to trying Tomukun, but I strongly recommend the trip to Canton for lunch or dinner at Matsuchan. It isn't very well known except in the Japanese community, but it is the most authentic Japanese noodle shop in SE Michigan.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 5:04 p.m.

I hope they will accept "bridge cards" so the rest of Michigan outside A2 can also enjoy this exciting cuisine when they walk into town??


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.

MMmm... ramen!! It'll be great.. Counting down...

Adam Jaskiewicz

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 11:55 a.m.

The coffee shop seems to be a little different, too; not just your typical Starbucks/Beaners/Caribou place. It seems like it's going to me more like the coffee bar out at the Zingermans roasting facility: it's about the coffee, not about getting everyone through the turnstyle with the standard-issue half-caf vanilla soy latte.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

This is so exciting! Ann Arbor needs a good Pan-Asian food place that's not just the typical Japanese restaurant. I heard the chef has travelled to many different cities to put together a great menu. Open up soon!

Adam Jaskiewicz

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

Oh, how could I forget Tampopo?!


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 9:49 a.m.

I've been waiting for someone to open a Ramen place in A2 (Tampopo is one of my favorite films...hehe). Can't wait to try it out!


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 9:19 a.m.

This is great! Ramen noodle dishes are delicious and I can't wait for this place to open.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 8:59 a.m.

I'm excited about any restaurant going in that ISN'T a coffee shop. We're awash in coffee as it is.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 8:57 a.m.

There's a few coffee shops already in that area, so I'm glad something a little more unique is going in there. I'm pretty excited about this, having just read through the excellent new cookbook _Momofuku_ by David Chang. This seems like a similar concept; hopefully Yon can pull it off.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 7:20 a.m.

There is still room for a restaurant (or coffee shop) with outside seating. and there are negotiations under way for that space. I'll be writing more about the building soon. And yes, it's Maynard - thank you. I made the correction.


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 6:40 a.m.

I thought there was going to be a coffee shop/restaraunt in that building. Apparently that fell through. Also, FedEx/Kinko's is currently at the corner of Liberty and Maynard, not Liberty and William. Liberty and William run parallel in downtown.