Former Notre Dame star, NFL veteran Jaylon Smith to open ramen bar on campus

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Former Notre Dame football star and NFL veteran Jaylon Smith plans to open his first restaurant right here in Michiana.

Smith, who played linebacker for the Irish from 2013-2015, is partnering with JINYA Ramen Bar to open a location on Notre Dame’s campus.

According to its website, JINYA is known for its slow-cooked approach to ramen, made from broths simmered for 20 hours in-house. In addition to ramen, its menu features tacos, salads, rice bowls, curry, and more.

Currently, there is no timetable for when the restaurant will open.

According to a press release sent to 16 News Now, Smith will also be investing in more JINYA locations across the U.S.

To view JINYA’s full menu, click here.

Press Release from JINYA Ramen Bar:

Jaylon Smith’s newest entrepreneurial endeavor is opening his first restaurant, JINYA Ramen Bar. The Pro Bowl linebacker and NFL veteran is excited to open JINYA in South Bend, IN, on the campus of his alma mater, University of Notre Dame. Smith will also be investing in more JINYA locations across the US.

JINYA Ramen Bar was founded in 2010 by Tomo Takahashi – named among the country’s most influential restaurant CEOs in 2022 by Nation’s Restaurant News – has 53 restaurants with multiple new locations in the pipeline.

“Playing in the NFL, I’ve learned how important it is to have good teammates, so I’m excited to begin this partnership with JINYA,” said Smith. “Joining the restaurant industry and opening a unique take on Japanese cuisine to bring ramen culture at my alma mater is the best way I know how to give back to that community and reach the future generations that will pass through Notre Dame’s campus.”

JINYA’s focus on kaizen – the Japanese practice of continuous improvement – means its guests will always experience the best ramen. From the water used to prepare its broth, to the special aging process that its noodles undergo, JINYA pays meticulous attention to everything that goes into its guests’ bowls. Known for its slow-cooked approach to ramen, made from broths simmered for 20 hours in-house. From its customizable menu to sleek interiors, JINYA Ramen Bar presents contemporary Japanese dining ideal for lively social gatherings for all ages.

JINYA also operates bushi by JINYA, Robata JINYA, LBD Japanese Bar and Lounge, JINYA Ramen Express and Saijo. Saijo, a new hand roll concept from JINYA Holdings, plans to open in Houston this year. This concept stemmed from the popularity of Robata JINYA’s hand roll and kushiyaki menu, and will open two additional locations in Washington, D.C. and Vancouver at a later time.

Founder of JINYA Ramen Bar, Tomo Takahashi, connected with Smith through his business manager, Michael V Ledo, Founder & CEO of RISE Advisors.

“Jaylon is an outstanding NFL player, and one of my personal favorites to watch play the game,” said Takahashi. “We were thrilled that he wanted to partner with JINYA and are looking forward to a successful future together.”

To learn more about JINYA’s full menu, visit