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Origin Story

There’s nothing like some late night drinking to spark some inspiration. Happy and hungry after a night out on the town, Chef Nate and his friends piled into his home kitchen, eagerly awaiting the reveal of the new recipe he’d spent months laboring over. And what a revelation it was. Everyone loved it. Many proclaiming it the best ramen they’d ever had. Entrepreneur Jeff Gapultos says of that night, “I wasn’t sure if it was the booze talking, but I said that it was one of the best things I’d ever put in my mouth!”, and from that encounter, Union Ramen was born.

After an inspirational trip to Japan to study the various styles of ramen, and after hosting several pop-ups for family and friends, Chef Nate was able to craft his own style for the public. Focusing mainly on Tori (poultry-based) and Miso (plant-based) ramen broth, Chef Nate was able to set himself apart from the rest. Long lines and sell-out after sell-out around New Orleans, of both his ramen bowls, and his small plates proved that they were truly on to something fantastic.

Union Ramen Bar opened in July of 2020 in the middle of a world-wide lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.  



Nhat "Chef Nate" Nguyen
Co-founder, Co-owner and Head Chef of Union Ramen

Nhat dreamed of being an aeronautics mechanic growing up but life led him down a different path.  Without any prior knowledge or experience in the restaurant industry, Nhat discovered his passion for cooking through his family’s restaurant business and food truck. In 2007, he continued to discover the art of food when he co-owned and co-operated a Cajun restaurant, Gumbolaya, in Long Beach, California. He received his culinary degree from Cypress Community College in 2010. Following graduation, he accepted an opportunity to be the restaurant kitchen manager in Emeril Lagasse’s Stadium in Las Vegas.  Four years later, Nate and his wife, Hong, returned to New Orleans to lay down their roots and start a family.  He continued to hone his craft at well-loved restaurants in New Orleans such as Meauxbar Bistro, Bayona (under Susan Spicer), Yellowtail and Kin.  


Jeff Gapultos
Co-founder, Co-owner and
Managing Partner of Union Ramen

Jeff is no stranger to entrepreneurship and entertainment. After graduating from Loyola University New Orleans, he began his career in entertainment and promotion marketing as a partner of Renaissance Records. There he crafted innovative campaigns and utilized guerrilla marketing to promote artists and events in New Orleans. Jeff continued making his mark on New Orleans as founding partner and managing member of Eiffel Society, a contemporary special events venue, catering and reception hall overlooking St. Charles Avenue in the Lower Garden District. He is also the founder and owner of Think Tank Marketing providing a breadth of interactive marketing activations, advertising and printing services for local and national businesses. A true Who Dat fan, Jeff was also a Game Day Entertainment Coordinator for the New Orleans Saints. From music to marketing or football to food, Jeff is passionate about entertaining others and bringing fun into their lives.

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