You can have a new food experience with each visit to this “five star dive bar”

“We are pushing boundaries that Springfield hasn’t seen before,” chef says

Reflecting back on a year of dining, there have been many fantastic meals I’ve enjoyed.

They range from the Calypso Grill and Smokehouse in Yellow Springs, which I wrote about on Jan. 6, to a fantastic five-course Champagne meal that I just enjoyed last week at Dorothy Lane Market’s Culinary Center. They wrapped up their 2019 year of programming with dreamy seafood dishes prepared and presented by Culinary Director Chef Carrie Walters, with sparkling pairings by DLM Wine and Beer Manager George Punter. It was a stand-out meal and speaks to just how talented the DLM team is in the kitchen.

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One would think it would be hard to pinpoint the one spot that completely captured my heart, mind and stomach. It speaks to just how excellent Springfield’s Speakeasy Ramen is that I didn’t have to spend much time at all.

I wrote about this little restaurant in September while it was in its soft open phase, and have been back many times since. It just keeps getting better and better, and it was already terrific to begin with.

Their signature dish — and also one of their most popular — is Tonkotsu ramen ($16) made with a three-day bone marrow broth that they make from ham bones and pork trotters from Fink’s meats, which provides locally sourced pork. They finish the broth with al dente ramen noodles and a variety of toppings that can include house-made tea-brined eggs, narutomaki, nori, bok choy and pork belly.

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The Thai curry ramen ($16) is a vegan, gluten-free broth with curry spices of southern Asia, coconut milk, coconut cream, mirepoix, and gluten-free tamari soy sauce. While it’s served with ramen noodles, rice noodles are a gluten-free option. That ramen can also be dressed up with a variety of toppings.

A three-day bone broth takes dedication and commitment to the art and craft of authentic ramen, and this is the real deal.

“When he first opened, we started with a small tasting menu that didn’t include ramen. Now we offer ramen daily, but still rotate the menu frequently to offer seasonal specials as well as weekly specials. For example, we’re currently offering sushi lunch specials,” said owner Kim Frazier. “We never have a regular menu. We may have a few dependable staples, but we even change those up from time to time in an ever-revolving menu.”

The menu — drawing on the best flavors and preparations from Japan, Vietnam, China, Korea and more — changes almost every day, according to the ingredients the restaurant can source. The goal is to keep everything as fresh as possible, so the dishes usually sell out.

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One of those specials is the Dragon egg ($15), a dish that I dream of having again very soon.

This very special special is a core of spicy tuna with sushi rice and fried onions wrapped in a beautiful fanned-out avocado, making it look like an egg the size of a softball. It is then dressed with a house-made sauce with tempura flakes for crunch. It’s a showy dish that is heavy on preparation and no matter how many the kitchen makes they often sell out before the dinner shift.

The technique was taught to Speakeasy Ramen’s Executive Chef Clayton Horrighs by his teacher Hayato Minami, and is a wonderful example of just how beautiful, delicious and satisfying food can be.

“We are just going to keep changing and experimenting, so we hope to always have a new experience, even for people who eat here frequently,” said Horrighs. “We are pushing boundaries that Springfield hasn’t seen before, and with great results. When we first opened, some people thought this concept wouldn’t work in Springfield, but people were excited about it. This opens the door for more exotic and experimental cuisine, and we love that.”

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Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Horrighs was trained in French and Italian cooking, but specializes in Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean cuisine. His mastery over many different cuisine styles and flavors is evident in the pan-Asian food coming out of the kitchen. He is an exciting chef who is as dedicated to traditional dishes as he is getting creative and mixing up styles and cuisine types.

On New Year’s Eve they had a ticketed event with food that’s not on the menu. It will be a glimpse of what they’re planning for a possible second location.

In addition to exploring a second location that they are looking to open in 2020, they’ve recently launched a lunch menu featuring sushi lunch specials, hamachi kama, a Vietnamese salad and more.

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“We are very proud of our team and our loyal customers who were willing to try us out this crazy experiment and prove that it was possible. We are food-adventurous, and we want to take our customers with us on that adventure,” Horrighs said.


What: Speakeasy Ramen

Where: 365 Ludlow Ave., Springfield

Special orders: Since the restaurant makes everything in-house, it's easy to control and create options for those with food allergies or special diets.

More info: (937) 324-3722 or

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