A new ramen bar, Onikama, just opened up under the Domain in College Park.
Located at 3711 Campus Dr. Suite A., the owners chose this location with the goal of targeting college students and expanding their brand through positive impressions, according to one of the owners, Mana Shi.
The location of the new restaurant makes it a perfect spot to attract hungry college students either going to or finishing up their classes. It is close to buildings where most students have at least one of their classes, such as Tawes and Art Socoiology and only a few minutes walk from the business school and McKeldin Mall.
One of the advantages of being so close to a college campus is the predictable business cycle that allows the company to plan ahead. They are able to use the academic calendar to strategically plan for both the peaks and downtime during the cycle, according to Shi.
Onikama is also thrilled to serve customers who will push them to constantly adapt and stay up to date with changing trends and technology, Shi mentioned.
“College students are passionate and tuned in customers that keep you on your toes,” Shi said.
The proximity to campus also allows the company to build a loyal fan base every year with incoming freshman classes, who they are hoping will support them while at UMD. The company is also working towards developing a franchise program and is looking for possible entrepreneurial graduates who might want to open an Onikama in their own town, according to Shi.
“University of Maryland has students from across the country and all over the globe - hard to imagine better brand ambassadors!” Shi said.
As for how the students are feeling about this new addition, most weren’t even aware of the opening. There hasn’t been much advertisement about the new spot, but the students that heard about the opening are definitely excited to try it out.
“I love ramen …so I am super excited to try this new spot,” sophomore public policy major Savanna Sikorski said, “I’m really hoping that it’s good.”
Ramen is a college staple and the restaurant provides a wide variety of options to choose from that are very different from a lot of the other food places around campus. They offer 7 different ramen options to choose from along with other Japanese dishes: appetizers such as edamame and gyoza, rice dishes with vegetables or meat, and okinawa onigiri which is like a rice ball.
The students that have gotten a chance to try out this new location are surprised by the great taste and service the restaurant offers.
“I enjoyed my meal and it was a nice change from the same lunch I always have,” sophomore business major Caroline Edelen said.
While Edelen admitted it is not her preferred cuisine, she enjoyed the meal she got and would recommend it to students in the area, especially for those who particularly like Japanese food.
As for the menu’s price range, it does seem to be a bit on the higher end. The meals range from $7-15, but all of the ramen dishes are over $14. While this isn’t too expensive, especially for the large portion of food you receive, it may be a little more than most students would like to spend on food.
The company is also excited to get involved with student life and is more than willing to participate in fundraising efforts for student organizations.
“This gives us an opportunity to directly impact our customers' lives in a positive way while giving back to the community,” Shi said.
Eating the same thing everyday can get old very quickly, so next time you’re in the mood for something new check out Onikama.