While slurping noodles at AGU, you may catch a glimpse of a man with a markedly strong physical appearance, an intense look of determination and a confident attitude to match. That's Hisashi, the founder and owner of the popular ramen bistro. It's no secret that this chef came onto the Honolulu scene to take his place as victor in the "Ramen Wars".
You could say that Hisashi "Teddy" Uehara was born to fulfill this destiny. Having spent his early years in Okinawa, the adventurous boy moved to Honolulu alone when he was 14. There, he attended the St. Louis School for Boys, and later, relocated to Los Angeles to begin his collage education. At the age of 19, while still attending collage, he apprenticed under a hardcore, old school chef from Japan. For an entire year, Hisashi demonstrated his tenacity and commitment as he tirelessly peeled onions, and sliced negi. Having proved himself, he was promoted and eagerly absorbed the secrets of making sushi, tempura, kaiseki and other delicacies.
In 2007, Hisashi took the plunge and opened a yakitori restaurant in Southern California. The LA Times touted the South Bay location as "Best Yakitori". In 2008, he followed with the first authentic Okinawan Izakaya in LA, as well as a Hawaiian Deli and BBQ. In 2009 he added a Izakaya in Las Vegas. Propelled by this success, he returned to Honolulu to join one of the best Japanese restaurant chains on the Island, Gyotaku, hailed to be Hawaii's Favorite Japanese Restaurant.
When envisioning his signature ramen bistro, Hisashi realized that a restaurant's popularity and success depend not only on the food, but also on the patrons' overall experience. He explains, "I want to bring smiles and happiness to our customers. I wish to enrich their hearts through food and culture. In Japanese, we say 'magokoro,' which means 'sincerity'. This is my joy and driving force." So, like the ancient clan of samurai, the AGU team is also dedicated to maintaining a strict code of excellence.
Since it opened in 2013, AGU has become a tour-de-force amongst Oahu's numerous ramen restaurants. Boasting broths made from the finest pork and Jidori chicken, Hisashi has elevated the level of this traditional fare to something extraordinary. Nevertheless, he is not one to stand still. Spending hours experimenting and creating innovative recipes that keep his menu fresh and intriguing, his mission is to make AGU "Honolulu's best ramen bistro"!
A harmony of aroma and complex flavors is affirmation of my love for the art of ramen. Steeped deep within the noodles, is a reverence for life and the Japanese culture. However, these bowls of passion can only reach perfection, if I succeed in passing on their secrets to future generations”