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Corktown’s Hit Udon Noodle Bar Is Expanding to Madison Heights

Chef Mike Ransom is opening a second location of Ima this fall

A bowl of udon noodles with boiled eggs, green nori, baby bok choy, and pink pickled radishes at Ima in Corktown.
Udon noodles at Ima in Corktown.
Michelle and Chris Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Corktown’s popular noodle bar Ima is expanding to a second location in Madison Heights this fall. The restaurant team including chef Mike Ransom has yet to reveal the specific location of the new outpost, but a release notes that the property will include “ample” free parking and freeway access.

“Madison Heights is a food haven for chefs and diners with its wealth of incredible Asian markets and restaurants,” Ransom says in a release. “The Ima team is really excited to become a part of the community.” Ransom tells Eater that he and the Ima team frequent Madison Heights during the week while shopping for restaurant supplies and through relationships with realtors in the area came across the new space.

At 2,500 square feet, the new as-of-yet-unnamed address is a lease and will have a larger footprint than Ima in Detroit and will seat roughly 65 customers. Ima in Madison Heights will have a similar minimalist aesthetic to the original location with a mixture of counter seating and small booths, and tables made from maple butcher block. A large communal table will run through a portion of the space with the ability to separate into medium-sized communal tables depending on the group. “It will be a little more adaptive” than the Detroit location, Ransom says.

The new restaurant is expected to offer many of Ima’s popular Japanese-style udon noodles and rice bowls with an expanded list of options. Ransom remained mum on the new menu items as the restaurant is still awaiting the city’s blessing on its equipment.

Ima debuted in December 2016 in Corktown at 2015 Michigan Ave. and almost immediately attracted a following for its warm bowls of vegetarian forest udon, unagi-don rice bowls, and Ima “tacos” made with shaved jicama shells instead of tortillas. The restaurant scaled up slowly over the next year and a half, adding a liquor license and an enclosed patio seating area. In 2017 the restaurant was named Eater Detroit’s Restaurant of the Year.

Chef Ransom discusses the new buildout with his team in Madison Heights.
Ima [Courtesy photo]

Update, September 14, 9:31 a.m.: This story has been updated with additional information from Mike Ransom.

Ima Is Now Serving Udon Noodles in Corktown [ED]
How Ima Makes Casual Dining Feel Like a Special Occasion [ED]
All Ima Coverage [ED]


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