Thomas Yon graduated from Michigan State with a degree in economics and went to work in a bank. But “I just really didn’t enjoy my job,” says Yon, twenty-seven. “I went from job to job hoping it would be different, but it was all the same. I was very unhappy.”
His relatives had the answer to his quest for a more satisfying job–open a restaurant. To learn the business, he spent three years working at Yotsuba, the Japanese restaurant on Hogback. In mid-April, he partnered with Victor Kim and Noerung Hang to open Tomukun Noodle Bar on East Liberty.
Kim and Hang also are owners (with two other partners) of Ann Arbor’s No Thai! restaurants. Hang, twenty-eight, and a friend of Yon from college, does double duty as the head chef at both No Thai! and Tomukun.
While Hang plans the menus at both, the food is very different: Tomukun serves an array of noodle dishes from across Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam–but not Thailand. Most of the udon, soba, and ramen dishes are broth based, and some eat almost like soups. Prices for noodles and a small selection of rice dishes like bibimbap and curry rice are in the $8-$10 range, but Yon says their best seller is their steamed pork bun, stuffed with pork and their own homemade pickled vegetables. They’re two for $6, and Yon says, “It’s almost like a slider.” Yon says they’ve been approved for a liquor license and hope to get it by July.
Tomukun Noodle Bar, 505 E. Liberty. 995-8686. Tues.-Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. & Sun. noon -10 p.m. Closed Mon. www.tomukun.com
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