Umami Ramen awarded $250,000 Real Estate Improvement Fund Grant
Umami Ramen has been awarded a $250,000 grant from Battle Creek Unlimited through the downtown Real Estate Improvement Fund. This fund was made possible by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation aimed at addressing significant hurdles faced by those wanting to invest in downtown by focusing on revitalizing vacant space, improving code compliance, structural and mechanical issues, and other upgrades.
Umami Ramen, an existing local favorite eatery, intends to utilize the grant funds to renovate the newly purchased property at 215 W. Michigan Ave. offering expanded square footage and hours of operations. The building, located across from the Kool Family Center and next to the Battle Creek Math and Science Center, was most recently occupied by another restaurant, "A Taste of India."
Owners Peecoon and Lance Allen, first opened Umami Ramen in November 2016 on Calhoun Street and have quickly grown a large devoted fan base leading to numerous awards and accolades for their delectable dishes. Besides being named the Small Business of the Year in 2018 by the Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce, Umami Ramen was recognized as one of The 10 Best Spots for Noodles in Michigan! by Best Things Michigan*, along with being named the best ramen in Michigan by Business Insider in 2018* and being featured in the PBS television show Under The Radar Michigan*.
According to Joe Sobieralski, President & CEO of Battle Creek Unlimited, “Umami Ramen is a staple in the Battle Creek community. This new investment will allow Umami Ramen to expand their footprint while being an anchor for downtown Battle Creek and its revitalization. It is anticipated that once complete, their venue will allow for outdoor seating and various forms of entertainment.”
“We are grateful to Battle Creek Unlimited and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation for this grant,” said Peecoon Allen, owner of Umami Ramen. “This grant, along with our own investment, will help us complete the renovation and revitalization of 215 W. Michigan and continue our mission of bringing community together through food.”
“Being in Michigan has been good to [my husband] Lance and me for many reasons. We chose to stay and invest in the city that’s made us feel welcome and belonging. Lance and I have lived in many cities from coast to coast, and others in between. We’re going on our eleventh year in Battle Creek, so this is the longest we’ve ever stayed in any one city,” Allen said.
“We have built many wonderful relationships and partnerships with local farmers and businesses throughout our process of building a business that has thrived because the people believed in us. With the help of our customers, fantastic fans and key advisors, Umami Ramen thrives in a city filled with hope and determination,” Allen continued. “We have been fortunate to have received guidance from the City of Battle Creek, Battle Creek Community Foundation, Calhoun County Health Department, Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce, along with the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau all have been instrumental to our growth. We look forward to greeting everyone at our new location.”