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Ramen restaurant Hotaru to replace Golden Palace

Owner Krystal Goins hopeful for April opening

LANSING, Ill. (March 5, 2023) – When Krystal Goins moved to Lansing in 2006, she took special notice of the building at 3307 Ridge Road, which was at that time Golden Palace.

“I thought, ‘Wow, what would I do if I had that building?’” she remembers.

The Golden Palace building at the corner of Ridge Road and Roy Street has been vacant for many years. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Now, after years of planning and working with the Village of Lansing, Goins does have the building, and she is planning on turning it into an upscale ramen restaurant called Hotaru.

Authentic Japanese food in Lansing

Goins is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and has studied under Japanese culinary experts. She’s done various chef work since 2007 while also working as an estimator for television networks such as Fox, Amazon, Disney, and Hulu. In a collision of professional worlds, a dish prepared by Goins was used in a show produced by Fox.

Lately, however, much of Goins’ attention has been focused on opening her first restaurant.

The menu for Hotaru—which is Japanese for “firefly” — is not completely finalized, but a featured offering will be various types of ramen. Far different from the packages of dried noodles available in grocery stores, Goins’ ramen will include high-quality ingredients shipped from Japan. And whereas microwave ramen takes just minutes to make, the pork-based broth of Goins’ version takes 14 hours from start to finish.

“I’m definitely going to have good quality,” Goins said. “I have to kind of un-learn people about what ramen is, and the ramen world.”

Tonkotsu ramen will be one of the options on the menu. Tonkotsu means “pork bones” in Japanese and refers to the process of boiling pork bones in water for many hours to achieve a savory broth, which is the base of the soup. Other standard ingredients in tonkotsu ramen are sliced pork belly and ramen noodles, which are wheat noodles that come in a variety of thicknesses.

Goins is planning to source around 90% of the ingredients used at Hotaru from Japan.

“I wanted to bring that north side of Chicago feel to the area. I want to get people excited about this kind of food here,” she said.

At a June 2022 meeting of the Village Board, Krystal Goins shared her vision for what the remodeled building could look like. Plans have undergone changes in the months since and are not yet finalized, but Goins is hoping to open in April. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Process and timeline

Golden Palace has been closed for years, and Goins has spent much time and effort dismantling and removing much of the former restaurant to start with a clean slate.

“I needed five dumpsters just to get the old stuff cleaned out,” she said. “And I still need one more.”

New plumbing and a new layout have been a costly process. Goins is funding the project herself.

“There’s no machine behind me funding this work, so my contractors have gone out of their way to accommodate me,” she said.

The same attention to detail Goins has given the menu she’s also given to the layout of the restaurant. For example, she wanted to make sure no food from the kitchen would ever need to pass a bathroom door to get to a diner.

As final approval is anticipated from the Village of Lansing on the plans for the construction, Goins is hopeful that Hotaru could open as soon as April.

Future aspirations

Eventually Goins also aspires to bring a rooftop dining element to Hotaru.

“I want to hurry up and get the main part opened first,” Goins said. “Then I want to add all the extra pretty stuff later.”

She also is exploring adding a yakitori grill element to the restaurant, allowing customers to cook their own meats at the table.

Overall, Goins is excited to finally open her own restaurant in the village where she’s lived for the last 17 years. She said, “I’m just hoping to bring that ramen culture here. It’s really really huge and growing every day, and I’m hoping to bring that to Lansing.”

The Hotaru restaurant will be located at 3307 Ridge Road in Lansing.


Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.