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Kentucky restaurant owner rewards staff with trip to Las Vegas

The noodle spot closed its doors for a week. The owner said his team is taking a much-deserved break.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As restaurants across our area shut down for good, a local favorite is closed just this week. It's not facing staffing or supply issues - the owner said his team just deserves a break.

"To me, I love taking care of people, so to be able to do this is like a dream come true," Ramen House owner Jonathan Ham said. 

The restaurant is tucked between a movie theater and library at Mid-City Mall in the Highlands. But right now, the people who run the restaurant are halfway across the country in Las Vegas.

In addition to the time off, Ham helped pay for a few of his employees to make the trip.

"I think people are the most important resource that any business - and especially restaurant - can have," he said. "And that's why I try to invest as much as I can in my people."

Sorry we are closed this week.. our employees have worked so hard and diligently through all the crazy times we went...

Posted by Ramen House Louisville on Tuesday, July 6, 2021

It's a payoff even customers can see. 

Juan Ortiz walked up to the restaurant Tuesday night, looking for a full meal, instead, he got a heartwarming surprise. 

"Seeing an employer actually do that for his employees," Ortiz said. "It makes you feel great. I'm actually getting chills thinking about it."

As for the customers who are fixing for that next bowl of ramen, Ham said, "I'm sorry, we'll be back next week. Just give us a couple of days to relax. We'll be back."

The core team in Vegas is made up of the same folks who helped open the restaurant in 2019. After a week of celebration, they'll be back putting meals on the table. 

That is - if they don't win big first.

Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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