Downtown: Asian-style snacks coming to Pleasant Street

  • Richard Weisburg said his new ramen and bubble tea restaurant will open this week. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

  • Richard Weisburg talks about his new ramen and bubble tea restaurant, Noodles and Pearls, which he said will open sometime later this week. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

  • Richard Weisburg holds two tokens displaying the logo of his new ramen and bubble tea restaurant Noodles and Pearls. He said the store is set to open later this week. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Friday, October 06, 2017

After 25 years in Concord, Richard Weisburg thinks he’s got the food scene pretty much figured out.

And at the end of this week, he’s hoping to introduce something he said the Capital City has never seen before through his new restaurant Noodles and Pearls: ramen and bubble tea.

The first part of the name is easy enough to understand; it’s the second part Weisburg feels will cause people’s heads to tilt. 

“A lot of people who have spent time outside of New Hampshire, they get ramen,” he said. “I think bubble tea will be a bit more a mystery.”

Bubble tea, also known as pearl milk tea, boba juice and boba tea, is a Taiwanese drink. It’s formula is pretty simple: a tea base mixed with fruit or milk and “pearls” of tapioca pudding at the bottom. Weisburg said the only place he definitely knows that sells it in New Hampshire is Swirls and Pearls in Hanover. 

But the ramen you’ll find at Noodles and Pearls will look nothing like the ramen you might find at the grocery store, Weisburg said. Instead, patrons will get to choose from two brother bases – meat-based or vegetarian – and then choose from 8-10 different components to make a dish closer to the Japanese original.

“It’s not going to be the same 25-cent packs of ramen college kids have lived off for years,” Weisburg said. “It’s going to be a rich, flavorful soup-based dish.”

In addition to ramen and bubble tea, Weisburg will also be serving pho sandwiches, a take on the Vietnamese soup dish that adds a crusty bread, and jianbing, a Chinese street dish that is similar to crepes. Patrons will have the ability to add any of the ingredients they’d add to ramen to either dish.

Ordering will resemble a deli; customers will get a token and will be able to order when their number is called. Service is expected to be quick, thanks to a sonic steamer Weisburg said can heat water to boiling in 10 seconds. The steamer is the heart of the operation and will allow Weisburg to prep ingredients ahead of time, which is critical to capturing Concord’s lunch crowd. 

“The issue is time,” Weisburg said. “The lunch crowd only have 30 to 45 minutes, so I needed something I could serve quickly. The thing about ramen is that it’s very labor intensive, but serving time can be quick. If I can get people in and out under 10 minutes, they’ll be happy.”

A definitive opening date has not been set, Weisburg said, pending a final inspection from the city.

Noodles and Pearls will be located at 26 Pleasant Street. Hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Weisburg said there will be about 16 to 20 seats. Take out options available. 

Bright lights, cool fridges

The Douglass N. Everett Arena just got over a hundred times greener.

Thanks to a recent partnership between the City of Concord and Unitil, the arena just completed a two-year effort to convert all of its lights to LEDs, which allows the facility’s lighting to be controlled with a dimmer. The arena also updated its brine chiller, a component of the arena’s refrigeration system.

According to a Unitil press release, both upgrades will save the facility 78,300 kilowatts of electricity annually.

 “The arena is self-supporting, even though owned and operated by the city, and typically has a substantial electric bill,” stated Jeff Bardwell, Everett Arena site manager in the press release. “We are thankful to have enhanced the efficiency of the arena. Our customers are thrilled with the change. Shifting to LED and replacing part of the refrigeration system has reduced our electric costs significantly.”

In similar, but different, Everett Arena news, ice skating has returned. Hours are 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and Sunday 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Saturday hours start on Oct. 14 and will be from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Admission is $5, ages three and under are free. Skate rentals are $5.

Rollins Park reforestation

Work to clean up and restore the area of Rollins Park where over 200 red pines were removed due to invasive insects begins today.

Phase one of the project is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving. Work will be extensive: Raymond Landscaping and Excavation will be removing stumps, backfilling and compacting the stump holes; removing any new vegetation; creating a walking trail; replacing a 550-foot long paved path that connect the park to Bow Street; creating a natural play area; and reseeding the entire area. 

The second phase will consist of planting 43 diverse species of trees and shrubs in the spring; the public has the opportunity to donate funds for additional trees.  Anyone interested can contact  Parks and Recreation Director David Gill at 225-8690.

Road work ahead

Nighttime work is expected to continue on Loudon Road through Thursday. Traffic will be limited at times to one lane in each direction.

Work is also expected to continue on the Interstate 93 Exit 16 roundabout. Contractors will be installing concrete tip downs for the sidewalk, setting granite cobblestones in the roundabout apron and paving all utility castings.

Community Drive will be graded in preparation for paving on Friday. Water mains will be replaced on Sanders Street on Friday.

Traffic delays are expected for all projects.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)