Food

Mess Hall’s Ramen World Returns With Bottomless Bowls and Beers

Slurp ramen and sip cocktails from Hatoba, ABC Pony, Thamee, and more.

Eat unlimited ramen at Mess Hall's Ramen World. Photo courtesy of Mess Hall.

Booking a last-minute trip to Japan may be out of the budget, but there’s a rich ramen scene to explore around DC. And for one day, it’s all in one place. Some of the biggest names in the soup game are taking over Mess Hall  on Saturday, February 29  for the sixth annual Ramen World festival. Tickets for the event, which typically sell out fast, cover unlimited ramen, snacks like dumplings and bao, Kirin Ichiban beer, Suntory whisky cocktails, and more.

You’ll find a variety of ramen styles, from pork-rich tonkatsu to Sapporo and vegetarian. Chefs have also experimented with ramen riffs like burgers. The Brookland food incubator is set up with multiple kitchens where chefs will set up mini-restaurant spaces and serve food to the tune of DJs spinning J-Pop and K-Pop.

“Usually it’s just a production space but it feels like you’ve been able to delve into the back kitchens somewhere in Tokyo,” says Mess Hall founder Al Goldberg.

This year’s chef lineup features Ramen World vets like Daikaya group’s Katsuya Fukushima and Maketto restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang. Both are representing new Navy Yard ventures (Hatoba for the former, ABC Pony the latter). Som Tam, Alex McCoy’s Thai-inspired stall at Union Market, and Pusha T-backed Kitsuen Ramen are making their Ramen World debut. Also new to the scene are Taiwnese/Cantonese street snacks from pop-up Aiya.

Festival-goers can wash down all the ramen with cocktails courtesy of H Street Burmese restaurant Thamee and Mess Hall member Pratt Standard Syrups.

General admission tickets are $75 and VIP tickets are $125. A portion of proceeds go to Capitol Area Food Bank. Ramen fans can choose from two sessions, 12 PM to 2 PM and 3 PM to 5 PM.

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Daniella Byck

Daniella joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a University of Wisconsin-Madison grad and lives in Logan Circle.