Nation's First Fully-Automated, Self-Serve Ramen Restaurant Coming To San Diego

December 29, 2023

A local celebrity chef is bringing the nation's first, fully-automated self-serve ramen bar to San Diego.

From Chef Lauren Lawless, who has appeared as a contestant on Fox's Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef cooking competitions, Ramen World is advertised as "the nation’s first-ever automated ramen restaurant," although there is similarly-billed concept sited in New York City that opened earlier this year. Lawless is currently in negotiations for a space in mid-City, preferably near Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa or in North Park, to open the eatery later in 2024.

At Ramen World, diners will select from a list of nearly 100 toppings, ranging from meats, seafood, vegetables, noodles and broth, as well as vegan and gluten-free options, to be cooked to order by state-of-the-art machines and weighed individually for payment. Self-serve ramen bars are popular around Japan but nearly unknown in the United States. After the initial location launches as early as next summer, Chef Lawless intends to franchise the concept.

"This allows customers to easily come and go and build their ramen bowls their way," explained Chef Lauren Lawless. "Forget the long wait times this literally takes minutes. Fast, fun, delicious and interactive."

According to a press release, Ramen World will feature a graffiti anime interior decor, a sauce bar, robots serving side dishes like Korean corn dogs and desserts, claw machines filled with toys and trinkets and a full bar or beer & wine license depending on the location. The restaurant will be open into the early morning hours to tend to late night crowds. 

As a TV personality, San Diego resident Lauren Lawless has appeared on shows such as Travel Channel's Best in Food and Food Network's Supermarket Stakeout, where she won the grand prize of Supermarket Stakeout champion. She also recently released her first cookbook called Flawless Cuisine: Inspiring The World One Plate at a Time. Chef Lawless previously teamed up with HGTV "Flip or Flop" star Steve Cederquist to launch the Flawless Cuisine Food Truck and also once operated Flawless Bistro & Bar in San Diego's North County city of Escondido. Lawless currently operates her own catering company called Flawless Cuisine.

For more information, follow Chef Lauren Lawless on Instagram.