When a friend asked me if I had heard of Dumpling Park and if I wanted to try it out for lunch, my answers were an intrigued no and an enthusiastic yes, respectively. Our only intel was that there were dumplings being served on Rochester St, and so we set out on a lunch date to investigate.
Making excellent use of astroturf in a parking lot behind the Morning Owl coffee shop on Rochester St, Dumpling Park is lovely lunchtime oasis. In a turquoise trailer surrounded by pastel flower boxes, co-owners Krista O’Leary and Kellie Vu serve up fresh pork dumplings and bright lunch bowls to a steady stream of customers.
After working for over a month to beautify an old leaky ice cream and hot dog truck, Krista and Kellie opened last summer for a short but successful inaugural season. Their clientele was almost entirely made up of civil servants from across the street. This year, though, they’ve seen a swift increase in business. Their opening week in May was twice as busy as their busiest week in 2015.
The popularity isn’t hard to understand. Open solely for lunch from Monday to Friday, Dumpling Park offers a small but vibrant menu – it’s quality over quantity. Whether it’s the popular pork and chive dumplings (that regularly sell out), the BBQ lemongrass chicken, or the ginger tofu and jasmine rice salad, lunch at Dumpling Park is guaranteed to be delicious.
The story behind Dumpling Park is as cute as the parking lot setup. On one of her first dates with her now husband (Jordan O’Leary, owner of the Morning Owl coffee shops), Krista made dumplings for dinner. After just one bite, Jordan proclaimed that one day she would have her own dumpling food truck, and now here they are.
Though it’s tucked away from the street, the secret is out about Dumpling Park; the dumplings are being gobbled up as fast as Krista and Kellie can prepare them. Be sure to arrive early to avoid missing out on the dumplings, grab a pair of chopsticks, and park yourself at a table by their cherry tree. I’ve never enjoyed astroturf so much.
Follow Dumpling Park on Instagram. They are located in the parking lot behind 538 Rochester Street. Open Monday-Friday from 11am-2pm, dishes range from $8.84 – $11.50 before tax. Cash only. There are no drinks sold at the truck, but you can grab one from Morning Owl steps away!