Acclaimed Dallas ramen shop Salaryman shut permanently its chef is battling leukemia

Salaryman in the Dallas Bishop Arts District is closed immediately after its chef and mastermind Justin Holt was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Holt continues to be in the hospital for therapy and is not able to operate. A GoFundMe fundraising marketing campaign has been started out for the chef, with a intention of $100,000.

[Update on Nov. 30, 2020: Chefs are also supporting Holt with a fundraiser called the Dream Box. Order one here.]

“It’s heartbreaking that Justin, who has been so fully commited to taking treatment of our staff members and community, has to quit cooking to battle for his individual wellness,” says Trina Nishimura, Holt’s husband or wife, in a geared up assertion. “Of program we are sad to shutter our very first store. But for now, it is time to concentrate on Justin’s health and fitness.”

Oct. 15 was the past date Salaryman served prospects.

The cafe was the fruits of Holt’s years-long obsession with ramen noodles and other Japanese cuisine. It opened in September 2019 and a cafe review in late 2019 by The Dallas Early morning Information called it a “transcendent izakaya.”

It was a very small place, with only 27 chairs. And typically, it was tricky to get a seat.

Before the pandemic, we wrote that Salaryman was turning out “some of the most ambitious ramen in the state, backed up by a menu that is artfully, and deliciously, both Texan and Japanese.”

When the coronavirus pandemic strike in 2020, Salaryman’s employees struggled to improve its business to satisfy the wants of touchless, takeout restaurant designs. Much of the allure of Salaryman was inside its restaurant, in which Holt could typically be viewed behind a puff of smoke, grilling yakitori as his personnel ladled bowls of broth that may have cooked for 20 several hours.

In this photo taken in April 2019, chef Justin Holt loosens noodles as he perfects the Salaryman menu. The restaurant opened in September 2019.
In this photo taken in April 2019, chef Justin Holt loosens noodles as he perfects the Salaryman menu. The restaurant opened in September 2019.(Vernon Bryant / Workers Photographer)

About the summertime, Holt and his crew bought yakitori bento packing containers, frozen cocktails and Salaryman swag like T-shirts. It was not the regular Salaryman, but it was one thing.

In its limited lifetime, Salaryman was surely a single of Dallas’ best ramen outlets and quite possibly a single of the most formidable little dining establishments in this portion of the nation. It was a nominee for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Awards and honored by Texas Regular.

Nishimura experiences that Holt commenced obtaining unwell all through summertime 2020, at the similar time the cafe was grappling with the pandemic. “What began with a few of sick times right here and there rapidly progressed to unwell weeks off,” she states. He visited health professionals “week after 7 days.”

The GoFundMe is set up especially to help with the price of Holt’s very long-time period procedure. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, is a sort of cancer that starts in the bone marrow and can unfold to other areas of the entire body.

When sous chef Andy Nguyen and Nishimura locked the doors on Oct. 15, they did not recognize it would by no means reopen. But Holt has now been in the medical center entire-time for about a month. His working experience modifications by the working day, Nishimura suggests, from huge suffering in the starting to small walks around the healthcare facility ground far more just lately.

“The street in advance of us is prolonged,” she explained in an electronic mail. She phone calls his procedure “aggressive and prolonged,” but suggests Holt is sturdy.

She confirms Salaryman is “closed for good.” She is hopeful that, someday, Holt “will locate one more possibility in Dallas to do what he loves: provide wonderful food to the individuals who enjoy it and carry on going the Dallas eating society forward.”

For extra foodstuff news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.