Head to The Summit to get your hands on some real deal ramen

Dan Wu is the owner and creator of Atomic Ramen, which is one of the many stalls located in The Barn at Fritz Farm. The Barn is one of Kentucky’s first food halls and shows many small restaurant concepts that are all dedicated to Kentucky traditions. Photos taken at The Barn media day on Friday, September 15, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Rebecca Feigin

Atomic Ramen, the first full-blown ramen restaurant in Lexington, is the one restaurant in the Barn that is not a second location restaurant.

Dan Wu, owner of Atomic Ramen, never had opening a restaurant in his plans, but when the development company for The Summit approached him about The Barn, he could not give up the opportunity.

You may recognize Wu and his culinary skills from Masterchef, but that is not where his story ends. After Masterchef, Wu was having fun doing private dining and small scale catering events as well as his food-themed podcast. Once Wu was approached about opening a restaurant in The Barn, he created a Kickstarter to raise the funds he needed. His goal was $15,000, but with 230 backers and $17,409 raised, he truly surpassed his goals.

Along with every other owner of a restaurant in The Barn, Wu loves the local energy of The Barn as well as the community all of the local restaurant owners have created with one another.

“The most amazing thing here and I’ve had a podcast for about three years about food in the central Kentucky scene and just from having talked to literally hundreds of restauranters and chefs, I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Wu shares of the collaborative nature of The Barn.

“On a daily basis, we are borrowing hand soap, towels, and forks from each other,” Wu said.

When thinking of names for his restaurant, Wu determined that he didn’t want to put barriers to understanding in the name by creating something with Japanese words that immediately created uncertainty with locals and questions of what the restaurant name really means.

If you go to Atomic Ramen, you will notice there is a heavy superhero theme going on.

“When Atomic popped into my head, it just sort of had a nice ring to it with Atomic Ramen,” Wu shares. “It kind of developed from there and as things went along I just went more and more heavy into the theme. I joke with people that it was an excuse for me to buy toys.

If you have never tried anything other than grocery store ramen, your first visit to Atomic Ramen should consist of one of their two specialties – uhura or otomo. Uhura is your classic Tokyo style ramen with a clean soy sauce base. Otomo is a spicier, miso based ramen.

Wu hopes for everyone in The Barn to succeed and for it to become a place for friends and family to gather and have a good time. As for Atomic Ramen, he hopes to succeed in his first restaurant and be able to build a brand so that in the future it can be translated into other areas.