The Noodle Café was serving customers on the Newport Bayfront for around eight years and had developed a loyal following during that time. But the business closed a couple of years ago when a new owner purchased the building and they were unable to negotiate an acceptable lease.
But those who may have been mourning the loss of a favorite restaurant now have reason to celebrate: the Noodle Café is back in a new location, still offering the same favorite menu items as well as some new dishes.
The Noodle Café is now located at 823 SW Hurbert St. in Newport. It is in the building previously occupied by the Newport Book Center, which closed a little over a year ago when the owner retired. The building has been completely renovated and opened on Dec. 9 as the Noodle Café.
As is often the case, getting the restaurant ready to open took longer than anticipated. “It was a big project, but it came out pretty nice,” said Lisa Cheng. She and her brother, Hann Cheng, have been partners in the business since it first opened in Newport. When they were forced to close their restaurant on the Bayfront, they considered relocating to somewhere in the Willamette Valley. “But we still like Newport a lot, so we just decided to stay,” said Lisa. “We have a lot of repeat customers. Newport people are so nice.”
Hann agreed. “We have very loyal customers. They are very supportive of us, and we really appreciate it. Without the local support, we cannot survive in Newport,” he said.
Hann also said they had planned somewhat of a quiet opening so they could get the operation running smoothly in its new location. “We did not tell anybody,” he said, but he failed to factor in how fast news can circulate these days on social media, and in short order, the Noodle Café was a busy place.
“Everybody is happy,” Lisa said of their former customers who have returned. “They’re so glad to see us, and of course, I’m so glad to see everybody.” The staff has worked long hours since they re-opened, and the schedule has been tiring, “but it’s a happy tired,” she said. “I see all the friends, (and) it makes me very happy.” She added with a laugh that she spent so much time talking with her friends and customers during that first week they were open that she lost her voice.
The people who frequented the restaurant when it was on the Bayfront will still find the dishes they enjoyed. “We kept a lot of the favorites, and we put some more stuff in there,” said Lisa.
The menu is multi-cultural, featuring a mix of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. The variety of Japanese ramen dishes — tonkatsu, shoyu and miso — have been quite popular. A new item is the bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish of rice with seasoned vegetables, fried egg and gochujung, which is Korean chili past. Also on the menu are dishes such as bulgogi, cod in red curry sauce, crispy shrimp Sichuan style, Mongolian stir fry and kung pao stir fry.
Lisa said in addition to more choices, the menu includes healthier options. “We use a lot of organic vegetables, and we use organic eggs,” she said. Hann added, “We don’t use any canned products. Everything’s fresh produce.”
Lisa said they will continue to add new items to the menu in the future. “We’re still going to be changing the menu once in awhile, adding more stuff, (but) we’ll keep the ones the customers prefer,” she said. “The ramen is very popular, we’re going to keep all the ramens.”
The restaurant’s dining room can seat 32 people. Eventually they will also be offering take-out orders, but “right now we’re so busy we’re trying to focus on the dining room first,” said Lisa.
The Noodle Café is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and from noon to 2:30 on Friday and Saturday. Dinner hours are from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on all of those days. The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays.
More information about the Noodle Café is available by calling 541-574-6688.