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London's Wagamama comes to the U.S.

BOSTON Wagamama, the popular London-based Japanese noodle chain, opened its first U.S. location here earlier this week.

The 133-seat restaurant offers Asian-inspired fare, such as teppan-fried udon noodles with chicken, chili chicken ramen, and teriyaki steak soba, a dish created for the U.S. market with grilled sliced sirloin served on soba noodles and vegetables.

The Boston Wagamama - the name means "willful, naughty child" - features a display kitchen divided into four cooking stations: frying, steaming, stir-frying and teppan or griddle cooking. Servers use handheld, wireless devices that allow them to transmit orders directly to the kitchen.

Wagamama, which has plans to expand along the East Coast, said its second outlet is scheduled to open early this summer in Boston's Harvard Square. The first is in Faneuil Hall.

Acquired in 2005 by private equity group Lion Capital for £102.5 million - or about $200 million U.S. - Wagamama currently has 75 locations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Holland, Dubai, Belgium, Denmark, Turkey and New Zealand.

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