By Hannah Wente | Photography by Hillary Schave
Sitting across from the co-owners of Trio Ramen, their love of community and food is obvious. The three moms met in Middleton a few years ago when their kids all attended Sunset Ridge Elementary School. In the summer of 2022, Xuan Wang, Peggy Wang and Wendy Weng formalized their business plans to open a restaurant, and in February 2023, they opened Trio Ramen off of Parmenter Street in Middleton.
Ramen broths and noodles are made in-house almost daily, along with fresh fruit boba tea and spicy sauces. Diners can hear cooks chopping vegetables in the open kitchen. Hungry patrons can select from rice or curry bowls, or build their own ramen bowl. Start by choosing one of four broth bases, a protein and toppings. Choose add-ons like bamboo shoots, woodear mushrooms or Ajitsuki Tamajo — a Japanese soft-boiled egg. Add some homemade sauce from the Japanese pottery dish on the table. There’s a daily chef’s special, too.
The interior has a mix of natural, earthy elements highlighted in the rattan light fixtures, hanging plants and wood accents. The restaurant is perfect for lunch with coworkers or a family dinner night. During a recent Thursday lunch hour, the restaurant was bustling and full of friends, fami- lies and coworkers all enjoying their food and company.
“We all have families and a commu- nity here in Middleton,” says Xuan. “Our goal is to have really good food and to build our community. We hope people come here and are happy here.
It’s a place where you can join your family and find out what’s happened with them today.”
Xuan and Peggy both grew up in northern China and came to Middleton about eight years ago. Wendy is from southern China and has owned Ichiban, a Chinese food staple on Park Street in Madison, for 12 years.
“We don’t have big families here [in the United States],” says Xuan, “But we feel we are just like a family. I can ask for help from them.”
Peggy says having the support of her two co-owners helps fulfill her dream of giving back to the community. Trio Ramen hosts regular fundraising nights for local schools, including Kromrey Middle School and Pope Farm Elementary School — donating 15% of the restaurant’s proceeds to the schools.
“As women, we have different roles — as moms and wives — but we also want to do something for ourselves,” says Peggy. “We want to contribute to the community … here, we support each other. We understand what we need, and cover for someone so they can take a step back.”
Wendy’s kids are 14, 10 and 4. Peggy’s kids are 8 and 4, and Xuan’s daughter is 9. The three co-owners also want to be role models for their daughters.
“We all have girls,” says Xuan. “We want to show them they can be whatever they want to be.”
Trio Ramen’s owners, Xuan Wang, Peggy Wang and Wendy Weng, share some of their menu picks.
Kamikasu Ramen: “The quality of the broth with the noodles reminds me of where I come from in northern China, which has similar weather to Wisconsin. We make noodle dishes and broths to keep warm. This dish makes me smile, and it reminds me of my hometown and culture.” — Xuan
Pork Dumplings: “Kids who come here love the dumplings. This is a traditional Asian food, and we make everything in-house. Back home in China, dumplings are made fresh, especially for celebrations. We make them as women and talk the whole time. This dish gives me a lot of good childhood memories.” — Peggy
Tonkotsu Ramen: “I like the mix of the pork and the soup.” — Wendy
“The way we cook the soup is very authentic. The first thing is … quality ingredients — like Berkshire pork from Japan or California, which is made into a broth and pork belly. Of course, love is the most important ingredient.” — Peggy