West Side Ramen Restaurant brings unique and bold flavors to Libertyville


Ash Magalhaes

The tonkotsu ramen (left), chicken katsu ramen (right) and the chicken shoyu ramen (center). The restaurant offers five types of ramens overall.

This year, West Side Ramen opened for business on January, 6th 2023 in Libertyville run by Nick and his brother Theo Dimitriou. It all started on January, 7th 2021, when West Side Ramen opened its doors for the first time. The restaurant is a pop up that sets up in their main restaurant, Chrissoulas which opened in November 2018 and serves Greek and Mediterranean food. They decided to open up West Side Ramen to bring ramen to Libertyville.

“We started the pop up during the pandemic as takeout only and it has grown more popular every year,” said Nick Dimitriou. “We run it every year in January and this year we decided to put Chrissoulas to the side and be fully Ramen for 2 months. We are very busy every day we are open.” 

As you step foot in the restaurant, eye-catching lanterns and colorful strings of lights hang from the ceiling. A variety of famous movie posters such as E.T. and Jaws fill the walls. 

“The atmosphere is fun and loose,” Dimitriou said. “Lots of fun lights and people having a great night out.” 

The service was excellent as the food came within ten minutes. 

Normally, the brother’s are known for their Greek food at their main restaurant, Chrissoulas. But, their ramen is a crowd pleaser as “many people look forward all year for our ramen menu,” Dimitriou said. 

Learning to make ramen can be a challenge, but the brother’s learned by practicing, studying, and tasting their work at Kendall College in Chicago. Now, three years later, they are still continuing their appreciation for ramen food. 

West Side Ramen has a range of food on their menu – from ramen to bao buns. Bao buns aren’t your average bun – a delicious and fluffy bun that is similar to a dumpling. Come and try some such as the smoked pork or mushroom bao buns! 

Some appetizers that they offered are edamame, umami fries which have a sweet, sour, and bitter taste, and a fresh spring roll with shrimp and peanut sauce. 

On weekends only, the restaurant serves a raw bar with different types of sushi rolls including their Satans Tuna Roll with spicy mayo tuna and Cali Roll with crab, cucumber, and avocado, and cilantro rolled in seaweed and sushi rice. 

Ramen is the star of the menu. For example, one of the ramen dishes is The Sumo with a pork broth, pork belly, and a chicken dumpling. Another ramen dish is the Chicken Katsu which has chicken breast, corn, and tofu in a chicken broth. 

While at the restaurant, I reviewed some of the appetizers, bao buns, and ramen. To start, I tried one of their appetizers which was Agedashi Tofu. It is fried tofu that soaks in tsuyu sauce which is similar to soy sauce, but is sweeter and more flavorful. 

Second I tasted the Shrimp Tempura, one of their bao buns. The bun was filled with tiger shrimp, cilantro, and a spicy kimchi slaw. 

My dining partner, who was my dad, tried one of their specials which was pork egg roll with kimchi that gave the dish a punch. 

They have four ramen dishes to choose from including the Miso Shiitake ramen, Tonkotsu ramen, The Sumo Ramen, Chicken Katsu ramen, and Chicken Shoyu ramen. 

Their Miso Shiitake ramen has a mushroom miso broth with soy marinated mushrooms, seaweed, tofu, bok choy (a Chinese Cabbage), and a soft boiled egg that melts in the broth. The thin, darker noodles were soba noodles made from buckwheat. This ramen is perfect for vegetarians and can be made vegan without the egg. 

For meat eaters, the Tonkotsu ramen has bold flavors of a delicious pork broth with smoked pork belly, bok choy, a soft egg, and ramen egg noodles. 

Overall, the food is tasty and I would recommend the food for anyone who enjoys ramen and other Chinese food.

While their main restaurant, Chrissoulas is open, “West Side Ramen goes away until next year or until we find a spot to open a stand alone restaurant,” Dimitriou said. 

Even though West Side Ramen is only a pop up restaurant, customers keep coming back for its distinct flavors and lively atmosphere. Stop by West Side Ramen to enjoy their ramen before it’s gone this year! The brothers hope that customers will say “we push boundaries and strive to be the best restaurant in town while giving the best service and best food options.” The brothers have pushed boundaries by bringing ramen here to Libertyville.