GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new ramen shop and boba bar in Grand Rapids is working to “end child hunger, one bowl at a time.”
The fast casual ramen shop builds its seven signature bowls or offers a build-your-own bowl in front of the customers using fresh ingredients that are made in house.
“We make pretty much everything here from scratch,” Chris Wessely, owner and executive chef, said, adding that the restaurant doesn’t use MSG and instead uses Himalayan pink sea salt.
“Our eggs are a vibrant sunset orange because we get through Vital Farms, which hooks up with local farmers and they only used pastured chickens…” he said. “Even the flour that we use. It’s not bromated or bleached…”
The colorful eggs are depicted in wall art that was created by street artist Asthma Speaks to give a Japanese alleyway feel to the restaurant, Wessely said.
In addition to ramen bowls, Noodlepig has milk tea boba. The tapioca boba is made fresh twice a day and the tea is brewed daily, the website said.
“…Our liquor license is on its way so then we will be able to offer cans of wine, beer, sake as well as our line of boozy boba cocktails,” Wessely said.
END CHILD HUNGER, ONE BOWL AT A TIME
Each bowl that is purchased helps to feed three children: one in India, one in the United States and one in West Michigan.
“The international charity is Faith and Deeds. The guy who founded it is my ‘brother from another mother.’ He came from India when he was young (and) we grew up together,” Wessely said.
He explained that his friend went back to India to find his birth parents and ended up making a meal for the villagers who were often going hungry. According to the charity’s website, while he was feeding the people, a woman who was dying of AIDS dropped two of her children at his feet and disappeared. The next day, two more children were given to him. By the end of the next week, he had over 20 children in his care and began work to open the Faith In Deeds Children Home.
“I’m building Noodlepig and I’m like, ‘how do I help?’ I start thinking and I go, if I’m in the business of feeding people, then why don’t I find a way to help feed these kids?” Wessely said.
To help show the impact of each bow purchased, there is a live ticker inside the restaurant that shows how many kids have been fed each day and in the history of Noodlepig in real-time. The ticker can also be viewed on the restaurant’s website.
LOOKING FOR A JOB?
Noodlepig is still hiring for all positions and all shifts. Wessely said that employees are encouraged to be cross-trained.
“It’s very much a Japanese concept. We’re all kind of one unit. There’s not one job role that is any better or less than another one… there’s no task that is below us and I’ll never ask someone to do something that I’m not comfortable doing myself,” he explained.
For anyone interested in applying, visit the restaurant’s website.
Noodlepig is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.