In May last year, Kevin Pak quietly opened narrow ramen restaurant Menya Sandaime on Russell Street without any English signage.

We reported it was trading 24 hours a day – and it exploded.

“The restaurant was absolutely full for six months,” owner Kevin Pak says. The restaurant didn’t take reservations, and he says there was often a one-hour wait until 4am.

Last week however, the restaurant that never closes, closed.

Pak explains Menya Sandaime is no more, but a rebranded restaurant will open at 9am tomorrow.

The new venue is called Shujinko, a Japanese word that translates to “protagonist”, or the hero of a story.

“We want to make sure everyone who comes to the restaurant feels like the main character of their story,” Pak says.

While he’s not a mad on it himself, lots of anime fans liked coming to Menya Sandaime to look at the collection of figurines that line the bar.

Even though Menya Sandaime was popular, Pak says it was time for a change.

“We realised we were pulling more crowds during late supper than the normal time,” Pak says. He also noticed 6am to 9am was the quietest period.

Shujinko will begin trading at 24 hours a day, but Pak suggests he may close the restaurant for three hours at 6am.

The new restaurant will still offer the same ramen-centric menu as before, but with more options.

It’s had a minor renovation over the past week and “a lot of cleaning”, Pak says. 
“We haven’t closed before.”

Shujinko opens at 225 Russell Street, Melbourne at 9am on Friday January 22.

Daily 24 hours (although this may update to 9am–6am)
(03) 9654 0989