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Dumplings and Cafe Fare Debut Next to Each Other in Kendall Square

Sister restaurants Dumpling Daughter and Vester — which are owned by actual sisters — are both open in Cambridge

Vester salad
Vester salad

Two restaurants sharing one space but serving quite distinct foods debuted this week in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. One, modeled in the image of Copenhagen’s cafe culture, serves salads, toasts, and pastries, while the other brings a successful Chinese dumpling restaurant to the city from Weston.

Sisters Nicole Liu and Nadia Liu Spellman are at the helm of Vester and Dumpling Daughter, respectively. The siblings took over the dual space at 73 Ames St., the previous home of Ames Street Deli and Study, which were owned by the team behind Backbar and the now-closed Journeyman in Somerville.

Though they share a space, the new restaurants function separately. Vester, which opened earlier this week, will run a limited schedule for now, closing on Monday for Labor Day but picking up with a 7 a.m.-to-7 p.m. weekday schedule on Tuesday, also operating from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Vester is closed on Sundays.

Liu previously told Eater that she fell hard for Copenhagen’s cafes during a solo trip a few years ago and felt inspired to bring a similar spirit to Cambridge.

“I adored the cafe culture, city aesthetic, and their mindful approach to dining, which had a prominent emphasis on freshness and seasonality,” she said.

As such, the menu at Vester spans breakfast and lunch, including croissant sandwiches with prosciutto and cheese, kale salad with lemon dijon vinaigrette, grilled cheese with Mike’s Hot Honey, shaved Brussels sprouts salad, and avocado toast. On the beverage side, Vester uses Counter Culture Coffee, and there will be a few specials, including coffee blends with coconut water, condensed milk, or milk tea. The cafe also serve teas and tea lattes.

Roasted barbecue pork buns at Dumpling Daughter in Weston
Roasted barbecue pork buns at Dumpling Daughter in Weston
Brian Samuels/Dumpling Daughter

On the other side, Dumpling Daughter brings a dumpling-filled menu and a rich history to Kendall Square. Spellman opened the first Dumpling Daughter in Weston in 2014, with consultation from her mother, Sally Ling, who owned the eponymous Sally Ling’s on Boston’s waterfront in the 1980s. The high-end Chinese restaurant was a white-tablecloth, cart-service dining establishment, the first of its kind around Boston. At Dumpling Daughter, Spellman focuses on a fast-casual mode of delivering a range of Chinese dishes.

There are glass noodle salads, steamed buns, scallion pancakes rolled up and stuffed with beef shank, soups, chicken wings, and, of course, dumplings. The dough pockets come in orders of six, with fillings ranging from vegetables and pan-seared pork to chicken. There are also daily specials like Mike’s Hot Honey soy chicken wings and kimchi fried rice.

Vester [Official Site]
Dumpling Daughter [Official Site]
Vester Heads for Cambridge With All-Day Cafe Fare [EBOS]
This Forthcoming Cambridge Dumpling Joint Has Some Serious Legacy [EBOS]

Dumpling Daughter (Weston)

37 Central Street, Weston, MA 02493 (781) 216-8989


73 Ames St., Cambridge, MA 02143