Photography by Kathy Tran.

Daisuke Mori loves ramen. He says he eats it once a day, every day. He turned that love into his new restaurant, WAYA Japanese Izakaya.

Mori is originally from Tokyo but lived in Honolulu for a while. He dreamed of starting a business on the mainland, so he looked at places like San Francisco and Los Angeles. After realizing that big Japanese companies like Toyota were in Texas, he turned his sights to Dallas.

After moving in 2017, he opened the Creek Café in 2018. He soon turned it into WAYA Japanese Izakaya after customers requested more authentic Japanese food.

“A lot of customers asked for more Japanese,” Mori says.

The most popular ramen dish is the Spicy Tonkotsu served with pork belly, pork bone broth, a boiled egg and some veggies. Another favorite is the Veggie Tantan-men, a vegetarian alternative.

Customers love the WAYA buns, Japanese-steamed buns filled with shredded pork rib. The meat is cooked for half a day to create soft, tender pork that melts in your mouth.

The Takoyaki is octopus fried in flour and vegetable oil, then rolled into delicious balls of seafood. Another favorite is the Wing Gyoza or pork dumplings.

Mori says he loves the Lakewood neighborhood, especially the Lakewood Theater. He enjoys recognizing regulars who have started to culminate at the long bar, which resembles traditional Japanese restaurants.

“I love this place. Very good people,” Mori says. “I like the regulars that come in here. It’s a very small community, and I hope we can be loved by this community.”

WAYA Japanese Izakaya

6334 Gaston Ave.



11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.



Tuesday to Saturday,

11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.

At press time, WAYA Japanese Izakaya is open for takeout.