Bowl of shrimp ramen from Speakeasy Ramen (photo courtesy of Speakeasy Ramen)
Food + Drink

Speakeasy Ramen, Springfield

Housed in a former neighborhood bar, this small restaurant’s Japanese-inspired menu draws diners from near and far.

Who would have thought that you’d find great ramen in a Springfield dive bar? While Speakeasy Ramen isn’t hard to find, it still feels like a hidden gem.

Kim Frazier opened the place in the summer of 2019. She had been on the lookout for a restaurant to run when she discovered the Ludlow Avenue space south of downtown Springfield, blocks away from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Westcott House.

“She always wanted to have a bar and restaurant as a retirement plan,” says Frazier’s niece Brittany Waters, who serves as general manager. “It’s a little hole in the wall in the middle of the neighborhood. In Springfield, they had more bars on every corner than churches — this is one of those bars.”

Waters estimates the cozy ramen joint covers about 800 square feet, joking that the front patio is bigger than the interior dining room.

“When Kim found this building, it had an area that was a pool hall, but you could only fit one pool table,” Waters adds. “That’s our kitchen now.”

Heading up that tiny kitchen is Waters’ fiancé, Clayton Horrighs. The two were living in South Carolina when Frazier convinced them to come to Ohio. Horrighs trained under a Japanese chef in Charleston, which led him to develop a Japanese-inspired menu.

Waters recommends first-timers taste the tonkotsu ramen. The rich, complex broth serves as the base for four varieties of ramen bowls, all loaded with proteins like pork, shrimp, soft-boiled eggs and plenty of veggies. She also suggests trying the JFC taco and the rangoons. The “JFC” stands for Japanese fried chicken, while the rangoons are packed with savory shrimp, scallions and cream cheese.

Speakeasy Ramen also serves sushi on Wednesdays, with four different rolls plus a weekly special, while the full bar serves Ohio beers, sake, wine and boba tea. The place has retained the charm of a neighborhood watering hole, but the food has drawn visitors from across the state.

“We still get new people coming in,” Waters says. “A lot of people traveling through Ohio will find us on Google. I’ve heard of people driving two hours, three hours before. One year, Yelp voted us best ramen in Ohio — that really got people out. People say we’re a five-star dive bar.” 

365 Ludlow Ave., Springfield 45505, 937/324-3722,