La Brea Dining Group, known for the JINYA Ramen Bar brand and Robata JINYA, recently appointed Clay Sanger as COO. Sanger brings over 30 years of experience to the Los Angeles-based restaurant group. Prior to joining the Japanese-focused brand, Sanger most recently held the position of COO for Pieology, which operates 130 pizzerias, with 70 more units expected to open. At Pieology he oversaw both company and franchise operations including development, real estate, training, operations support, and restaurant design and constructions.
Additional experience includes 11 years as Senior VP of Operations for Panera Bakery, Senior VP of Operations of SusieCakes Bakeries, and his initial restaurant role as Regional Training Manager of La Madeleine Country French Café in Arizona.
With the JINYA Ramen Bar brand continuing to expand, currently 29 locations with 6 slated to open before 2019, Sanger brings a wealth of knowledge to the organizations.
Realizing the need for authentic ramen in the United States, successful Tokyo restaurateur Tomonori Takahashi opened JINYA Ramen Bar’s first U.S. location in Studio City, Calif. in 2010. When selecting the name of his establishments, Takahashi gravitated to JINYA as it refers to the historical estate of the samurai and community meeting point. JINYA embodies the ideals of all of Tomonori’s restaurants, intended to be a cozy, neighborhood spot for lively, social gatherings. The brand has since expanded to 25 stores throughout the United States and Canada. Despite its fast growth, JINYA is known for its slow-cooked approach to ramen, made from broths simmered for 10 hours in-house and noodles meticulously aged for three days. The ramen-focused menu features 13 signature bowls with more than 20 toppings, allowing for countless combinations. From its customizable menu to sleek interiors, JINYA provides a modern, approachable take on authentic Japanese dining.