DINERS AT 9th Street Bistro in downtown Noblesville got an early taste of chef Samir Mohammad’s fascination with Asian broths during the restaurant’s occasional ramen pop-ups. Mohammad used the dinners to workshop his next venture, The Ramen Shop. Expected to open early next summer, the noodle restaurant will focus on soups and appetizers.
Mohammad and his wife, Rachel Firestone Mohammad, opened their 35-seat bistro in 2020. For the Colorado transplants, Noblesville was the perfect place to open a restaurant. “We just fell in love with its small-town charm. It has preserved historic parts, but it’s also very progressive and kind of hip,” says Mohammad, who grew up in Taos, New Mexico. “[It’s] a foodie town, so to speak,” he says.
Since the age of 12, he has worked in restaurants, including that of his uncle, Damon Simonton, who specializes in Northern New Mexico cuisine and was a semifinalist for the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest. “He was always a role model for me,” says Mohammad. “Once I was able to work in a restaurant with him, it started to seem like a career path for me.” In time, he followed in his uncle’s footsteps, garnering a Best Chef: Great Lakes nomination in this year’s James Beard competition.
The Ramen Shop concept was informed at least in part by Mohammad’s travels as a consultant for a company that owns surf resorts in Samoa, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Maldives, and Indonesia. But the chef says he’s aiming for simplicity over authenticity. “It’s important to let people have fun with it.”