Home Essex County Behind pastaRAMEN: A Deep Dive into This Italian Ramen Phenomenon

Behind pastaRAMEN: A Deep Dive into This Italian Ramen Phenomenon

by Diana Cooper
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When pastaRAMEN opened in Montclair this past January, it quickly became a hot ticket in town — on any given night, scoring a reservation at the Italian ramen spot was virtually impossible, and seven months later, the momentum hasn’t slowed. pastaRAMEN is the brainchild of James Beard nominated chef Robbie Felice, who partnered with Montclair Hospitality Group to open up shop. Robbie recruited  Tyler Scher, the founder of a New Jersey-based media and marketing agency, MediaScher, to join him on the journey, and the two sat down with The Montclair Girl to talk exclusively about working together — as well as what other solo projects are in the works. Read on to learn more about this dynamic duo below.

Photo credit: Courtesy of MediaScher

The Ivy at Chatham

How pastaRAMEN Came About

PastaRAMEN, located at 6 South Fullerton Avenue, celebrated the grand opening of its very first brick-and-mortar location on January 28th. There was plenty to celebrate since the path to the opening had been a long one. The concept had been in the works since the pandemic, and it had been a “whirlwind” and had a “rocky start,” according to Robbie. The executive chef ran the idea by Montclair Hospitality Group’s Founder, Luck Sarabhayavanija, who was blown away by the idea.

“We liked the idea of a prohibition speakeasy-style omakase since everyone was worried about going out and we wanted to make it for a select few people,” Robbie, 32, shared. “We made it super fun and exciting and disruptive with fun dining paired with eating with your eyes first. It’s been unbelievable what we’ve done with it.”

Photo Credit: Diana Cooper

Tyler Scher, 24, of MediaScher has been working with Robbie and Luck since the very start. He told The Montclair Girl, “I was super grateful Robbie asked me to be a part of it. At the time MediaScher was a one-man show. Seeing how our own team has expanded and also witnessing the incredible growth of pastaRAMEN and MHG (Montclair Hospitality Group) has been a blessing!”

The New Jersey natives believe pastaRAMEN fits in perfectly with Montclair’s food scene, referring to it as “one of the best” in the Garden State. They also admire the diversity of the community and how “culturally driven” it is.

Read More: A List of Must-Try Pasta Spots in Essex County

Celebrating Success

Fast-forward to nearly five months after opening, the Italian Ramen restaurant has gained national recognition, such as appearing on Good Day New York, the New York Post, and in Saveur magazine, and the restaurant is getting completely booked. Reservations are filled within ten minutes of the opening of the reservation slots, we’re told, and it’s already booked until the end of July. People from all over are attracted to its speakeasy vibe, especially with the tinted windows that give way to privacy inside.

chef robbie felice

^ Chef Robbie Felice

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Montclair Hospitality Group

Robbie added, “It’s super dim-lit and sexy, and people have been really loving it. I’m super grateful for that. I’ve always wanted everyone to have an incredible… We’re staying super true to who we are as a brand as pastaRAMEN and it’s working really well for us.”

Currently, pastaRAMEN also has a pop-up in The Hamptons for this summer, which began on June 26th where guests can experience the chef’s award-winning Wafu Italian dishes such as the Truffle Porcini Ramen, Mochi Ramen, and Kaluga Caviar. The owner of New York-based Japanese restaurant Kissaki, Garry Kanfer, struck a deal with Luck and MHG’s CEO Joey Simons to bring a one-of-a-kind dining experience to the private omakase room at Kissaki’s Water Mill location.

pasta ramen inside decor

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Elkashab (@nj_native_photo)

A Lasting Relationship

Robbie, who is based in West New York, and Tyler, who is based in Old Bridge, met through social media about four years ago. Robbie was initially drawn to Tyler’s work, seeing the photoshoots he had set up with other talented chefs in New Jersey. After setting up their first photo and video shoot together, the rest was history.

The acclaimed chef told MG about working with Tyler: “He’s been great. We’ve definitely gotten a lot closer over the years. He’s a perfectionist in his field and I’m the same. We always have a lot of fun working together and he knows how to tell me to shut up, which I like. We mesh well together, and it’s been awesome to see him grow.”

^ Tyler Scher, Founder of MediaScher

Photo Credit: Courtesy of MediaScher

Meanwhile, Tyler shared, “Working with Robbie is always unique. Robbie has a playful and energetic personality, so it’s easy to see why he has gained so much popularity. Not to mention his food is incredible! Robbie is hands down one of the best chefs I know, and his journey is just getting started. Robbie always provides a level of collaboration to our content shoots that you don’t typically find among most chefs. Together we create ideas that help a special case in both of our works. It’s a synergetic process!”

Apart from pastaRAMEN, Montclair Hospitality Group has other restaurants brewing. The young entrepreneur teased, “[We’re] always working on something new! I can say that MHG’s new partnership with Morimoto (Philadelphia’s sushi restaurant), their constant innovation, and vision for new concepts are aligned with our strategy for creating new and engaging content.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Media Scher

See More: The Best Ramen Spots in Hoboken + Jersey City

What’s To Come

For now, Tyler continues to focus on his current clients: Montclair Hospitality Group, Teak in Red Bank, Chris Michael’s Steakhouse in Woodbridge, and D’Amelio Cosmetics among many others. “Our company is most looking forward to being a part of our clients’ growth, [which] lends us new and exciting opportunities. The Media Scher team is expanding, and we are also in the process of securing a creative studio space for us to collaborate amongst ourselves and with our clients.”

pasta ramen workers

^ Photographed: Luck Sarabhayavanija (far left), Chef Robbie Felice (2nd to left), Chef Masaharu Morimoto (2nd to right), Tyler Scher (far right)

Photo Credit: Courtesy of MediaScher

As for Robbie, he’s also the chef and owner behind Osteria Crescendo in Westwood and Viaggio Ristorante in Wayne. His fourth restaurant, Fatto Con Amore, a new Italian sandwich concept from Montclair Hospitality Group, will be opening this fall at 349 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. Following that, Robbie and his team will be opening another pastaRAMEN — this time in Bellevue, Washington — later this year.

Robbie told MG, “I’m in a new position that I’ve always dreamed of but never imagined and now it’s happening… Every day I want to be like a sponge and take in everything around me. I’m excited to learn and grow with all teams across the board.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of MediaScher 

Although he’s was a semifinalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award in 2020, he believes he hasn’t “necessarily hit that pinnacle yet” since he believes “there’s a lot more to come.” He concluded, “I just always chased my dreams. I think that’s what has gotten me this far and I’ll continue to do those things.”

Follow Media Scher and pastaRAMEN on Instagram for the latest news and updates.

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