You might know him as the bescootered, focaccia-and-cannoli-slinging S.C. Bread Boy, but on Tuesdays at Avanti on Santa Cruz’s Westside, Lance Ebert is leaning into a childhood obsession: ramen.
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Lance Ebert is a self-described ramen geek, and now he’s turned that obsession into a weekly pop-up residency at Avanti on the Westside.
“I’ve been obsessed with ramen since I was a kid growing up in San Francisco,” he said.
Ebert is best known to many locals as S.C. Bread Boy, the scooter-driving purveyor of focaccia and cannoli. He’s still doing that here and there, but now he’s turning his focus on his love of ramen.
He spent years teaching himself how to make it, tweaking recipes and trying different approaches. He ate “thousands and thousands of bowls,” both his own and others’. He made mistake after mistake, conducted a lot of research, connected with fellow ramen aficionados, and spoke with ramen chefs to hone his craft. It took almost a decade for him to feel ready for other people to try his creations, but now he’s created a dish he is excited to share.
“Once you know how to build the structure of the bowl, there are endless options,” he said. “It’s an umami punch.”
Ebert eventually hopes to open his own brick-and-mortar restaurant, and said the residency at Avanti is giving him an opportunity to explore and be creative in a new space. He’s currently focused on tonkotsu ramen, which uses a pork bone-based broth and is traditionally topped with sliced pork belly. Each week, he changes the bowl a bit, trying different toppings and seasonings depending on what he’s feeling like cooking. Rounding out the menu are a few other dishes, including a regularly changing crudo and soy-glazed Brussels sprouts. Avanti bartender Missy Lavie has crafted a special cocktail menu to match — including an Asian chili gin and tonic and a lychee martini. Service is Tuesdays from 4 to 9 p.m.
“Rolling cannoli and baking bread is great but I need to be able to do new things,” Ebert said of this new venture. “I’m trying to mix it up and not get stuck in the same rut.”
As part of those efforts, he’s also expanding his Avanti pop-ups to Mondays starting this week, when he’ll be serving up his take on a smashburger. He’s not completely done with the baked goods, either, though that’s going to be more intermittent for now.
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