Noodle Joint May Signal Positive Trend


Ava Charlesworth, Staff Writer

Noodle Theory, Moraga’s newest eatery in the Rheem Shopping Plaza, held its grand opening  on August 22.

Owner and chef Louis Kao decided to expand the existing Rockridge and Emeryville Noodle Theory operations to Moraga, where he and his wife, Yvonne Kao, recently settled to raise their 3 (soon to be 4) children.

Kao said he realized he wanted to “give back to his community by opening a Noodle Theory in the heart of Moraga” with his favorite nostalgic dishes featuring unique spins and local ingredients.

The restaurant’s menu boasts a fusion of pan-Asian flavors and utilizes locally and sustainably sourced ingredients to create their namesake dishes, along with other classic plates. Crowd favorites include the Pork and Chinese Chive Dumplings appetizer, the Vietnamese Style Caramel Pork Belly Ramen, and the Beef Udon in Coconut Lime Curry Broth.

General Manager Jenn Avelino, who has worked with Noodle Theory at their Rockridge location since 2007, said she hopes to “provide a place where people can gather and connect over good food.”

The opening of Noodle Theory suggests a positive trend for Moraga dining. In the past, a chronic lack of options for dining out has plagued the town, forcing residents to venture to Orinda or Lafayette for a bite to eat.

More recently, however, popular new spots like iTea and Town Bakery & Cafe have piqued interest. “It’s nice to finally have some interesting spots to eat or go out with friends in town,” said senior Kelly Ruane. “I don’t really feel like I need to go to Oakland or Walnut Creek to get good food anymore, there’s definitely more to choose from now.”

But a restaurant in a town so small needs more than great food to survive. A trendy atmosphere and untraditional fare may just be the key to success.

Could Noodle Theory be the restaurant to finally kick off a thriving food scene in Moraga? Judging by the crowd at Wednesday night’s grand opening, the noodle joint has a promising future ahead.