Beloved Flushing, Queens-based dumpling spot Dumpling Galaxy — one of the 38 best restaurants in the entire country, per Eater’s national critic, Bill Addison — is looking toward Boston (and beyond) for potential expansion.
The restaurant’s first expansion will be a small-scale, fast-casual shop inside Flushing’s Super HK Supermarket, where owner Helen You will offer 10 to 12 dumplings — much fewer than the expansive menu at her original sit-down restaurant. After that gets up and running, You plans to look outside of New York City to urban areas such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston.
“Boston is certainly a great market for this brand,” Steven Gardner told Eater Boston; he is the founder of QSR Franchise Development Group, which is the company You is working with to devise her franchise plan. “We’re hoping to get a couple of strong, multi-unit developers interested in developing a market for Dumpling Galaxy in Boston.
Gardner also told Eater Boston that the city makes sense because it’s a both a university city and tourist destination, both of which mean there’s ample foot traffic. According to Gardner, Dumpling Galaxy will likely eye Faneuil Hall, South Station, Kenmore Square, Commonwealth Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue, the Financial District, Chinatown, Brookline, and Harvard Square as potential areas for expansion.
The original Dumpling Galaxy offers more than 100 dumplings, but franchises would follow in the footsteps of You’s first expansion, serving about a dozen dumplings and some sides.
Shortly after the original location opened in Flushing’s Arcadia Mall, Pete Wells gushed about the restaurant in the pages of the New York Times. “I’ve eaten entire meals that delivered less flavor than a single one of Ms. You’s dumplings stuffed with terrific little meatballs of duck and shiitakes,” he wrote of one of the many dumpling varieties.
And from Eater’s own Bill Addison in his explanation of why Dumpling Galaxy is one of the 38 essential restaurants in the United States:
In Helen You’s spicy beef dumplings, grated ginger isn’t just a flavor — it’s a deliberate physical sensation, its juicy crunch a bolded exclamation point against the highly seasoned meat. You doesn’t compress the fillings, so the elements blend but never quite lose their distinctiveness; she knows ingredient textures the way Van Gogh knew the feel of spreading paint across a canvas with his fingers. The restaurant serves dozens of variations on jiaozi, the pleated dumplings You mastered during her childhood in northeastern China. They look homely, but they contain multitudes. Try the version with lamb and squash, and then the pork and chive, and then her impeccable har gau. Are there better soup dumplings in New York? I haven’t found them.
As You told Eater New York and Gardner told Eater Boston, they expect the expansion plans to get going sometime in 2019. When Dumpling Galaxy does find its way up to Boston, it’ll probably quickly find its way onto this map.
Dumpling Galaxy isn’t the only New York City restaurant eyeing expansion to Boston. Barbecue joint Mighty Quinn is hoping to open a Boston franchise by the end of 2019, for one, and hand-pulled noodle heaven Xi’an Famous Foods has been trying to come to Boston since 2012. Plus, David Chang’s casual fried chicken chain Fuku is opening in Boston’s Seaport District this very weekend — stay tuned for more info on that — and Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, which began under the umbrella of Chang’s Momofuku empire but operates independently, is almost ready to open in Harvard Square.