By Celina Colby

Since July, a lively new noodle spot has been churning out piping hot bowls of ramen and boozy boba on Harvard Street in Coolidge Corner. Mecha Noodle Bar, part of a Connecticut-based restaurant group, offers Asian comfort food and a social justice mission to the Brookline neighborhood.

Brian Reilly, culinary director for all the Mecha Noodle Bar restaurants, says Brookline was a natural fit when the group decided to expand to Massachusetts.

“We wanted something that felt like a neighborhood; we like to be a part of the local culture and the community,” he says. “Brookline, to me, is a lot like our Fairfield location. It’s very neighborhoody, with a lot of families; Sunday morning here is stroller city. It’s great to see families coming out.” The group opened a second location in Fort Point in September.

Family and familiar food were the basis of the Mecha Noodle Bar concept. Founder Tony Pham launched the first shop using his family’s Vietnamese recipes for Pho, Saigon Egg Rolls, and other delicious bites. He quickly partnered with childhood friend Rich Reyes, and they established a restaurant group that would prioritize positive employee culture, philanthropy, and warm, comforting foods that taste like home.

The philanthropic arm is one of the reasons Reilly joined the group. “I feel in love with Asian cuisine, specifically Japanese cuisine, because of the part of their culture where you do one thing excellently. Our company lives by excellence,” he says. In this case, it’s not just culinary excellence.

Every month as part of their “Eat Justice” initiative, the employees at a given store collectively choose a charity. Proceeds from every bowl of ramen sold at all the Mecha locations that month goes towards that charity. When the group was working with five locations, they could raise about $10,000-$11,000 a month. Now, with seven locations, they raise as much as $16,000 a month for various causes.

The causes are deeply personal and connected to the community. Reilly has a dear friend whose daughter is living with a rare and difficult medical condition. The December donations will go towards research for that condition at Boston Children’s Hospital. Eating a bowl of ramen has never felt this rewarding.

The Mecha Noodle Bar menu is based on various ramen and pho options that are rooted in traditional recipes and occasionally innovated for a more contemporary flavor. The menu also offers a selection of snacks and seasonally rotating dishes. In November, you can find Wonton soup on the seasonal menu, a recipe Reilly developed over the course of two years, as well as a spin on Korokke. Korokke is traditionally a fried potato-based croquette with seafood. The Mecha Noodle Bar version will be heavily buttered and creamed mashed potato stuffed with crabmeat, breaded and fried.

Orders come quickly at Mecha, where the chefs are trained to move with expert speed, but almost everything is made in-house. Even the sodas are primarily made from scratch syrups on site. They are not messing around about this commitment to excellence.

But the excellence moniker doesn’t come with the same perform-or-else attitude as in many restaurant environments, particularly in fine dining. The group works hard to promote a positive and educational culture at Mecha Noodle Bar, where every employee gets deep-dive training on the menu, and local branch chefs collaborate on seasonal recipes.

Mecha has integrated well into Coolidge Corner, says Reilly, with many regulars coming weekly for their ramen fix. He’s glad to provide good eats to such a wide spectrum of the community.

“Our demographic is pretty huge if you look at it. It’s everything from teenyboppers to folks my age and a little older that have known about ramen, known about pho, and we’re creating a cool space and culture of hospitality for them to hang out in,” he says. “It really comes down to the community, and the bigger that we get, the more that we can do.”