Say it ain’t so, Youko! New Paltz’s beloved Japanese soup shop, Gomen-Kudasai Noodle Escape, will be closing on Saturday, March 17 after ten years of serving authentic and delicious meals to the community. In a press release, husband-and-wife restaurateur team Tomoko Matsunaga and Youko Yamamoto announced the decision to shut down the operation, due primarily to the unsustainable costs of “ethical and natural ingredients.”
“The motto being ‘E-Shoku-Doh-Gen: Food is the Best Medicine,’ Gomen-Kudasai has been providing food made from organic and natural ingredients to the community in support of the physical and spiritual health of all. To create ‘Umami,’ a natural savory flavor, Yamamoto got a hint from traditional Japanese fermentation process to create original ‘Kaeshi,’ the mother sauce, full of probiotics and natural iodine from the ocean. In this fast-paced world, she always took time preparing Kaeshi, taking up to six months for this process and then carefully adding it to her broth. Running a restaurant valuing natural and healthy ingredients was not always easy, with more time and effort going into preparation as well as the resourcing of quality ingredients,” reads the announcement.
“The restaurant has partnered with many local organic vegetable growers and has been a large supporter of local, non-GMO, MSG-free and organic ingredients. Delicious gluten-free, allergy-free and vegan options were provided to welcome all the customers as well,” the press release continues. “For the past few years, Gomen-Kudasai struggled to continue promoting healing through their noodle soup because of the increasing prices of ingredients and other running costs. They are no longer able to sustain their health-conscious business.”
Gomen-Kudasai has made its mark in the New Paltz community not only as a great place to warm the soul with a healthful bowl of broth, noodles and exotic toppings, but also as a venue for top-shelf live jazz, indie-rock and even Argentine tango performances. The restaurant also hosted weekly screenings of Japanese movies, monthly classes in traditional arts such as Japanese calligraphy and ikebana and a variety of much-anticipated annual Japanese holiday rituals, including Setsubun, Tanabata and Mochi-Tsuki.
Expressing gratitude to their loyal customers, supporters and suppliers, Yamamoto and Oshita stated that they are “currently looking into selling the business with all contents included” and “transforming their restaurant into a ramen noodle shop in Kingston,” though no specific location has as yet been announced. Yamamoto will also continue to organize the Bon-Odori Dance Festival for Peace each August, to be held at Kingston Point Beach.
Gomen-Kudasai Noodle Escape’s business hours, up until March 17, are 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is located in the Rite Aid Plaza at 232 Main Street in New Paltz. For more info, call (845) 255-8811 or visit www.facebook.com/gomen-kudasainoodleescape or www.gknoodles.com.