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Inside Texas’ first Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, a restaurant for the TikTok generation

Aug 11, 2022

Chopsticks holding a dumpling, the words Dallas morning news above

Fast-talking New York restaurateur Stratis Morfogen expects to open 10 to 15 Brooklyn Dumpling Shops in Dallas-Fort Worth and 50 to 100 nationwide within seven years.

The Pac-Man dumplings at Brooklyn Dumpling Shop were created to look like the retro arcade...
The Pac-Man dumplings at Brooklyn Dumpling Shop were created to look like the retro arcade game characters. (Daniel Kwak)

That would be no big deal, he says in so many words. He already has a 25,000-square-foot restaurant named Brooklyn Chop House in Times Square and dozens of other restaurants. Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is his latest creation, a 24/7 destination where customers can be “in and out in 10 seconds” with a bag of pepperoni pizza dumplings, French onion soup dumplings, and Philly cheesesteak egg rolls.

The restaurant — which requires little to no human interaction on the part of the customer — is “absolutely speaking to the TikTok generation,” Morfogen says.

The first one opened in May 2021 in New York City and the company is quickly expanding nationwide, with the first Texas restaurant expected to debut in Deep Ellum in early 2023.

Then Dallas franchisee Sam Cole will stir up at least four more within “a few years,” a spokesman says of the initial D-FW expansion.

To-go food at Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is placed in a locker that can be unlocked with a...
To-go food at Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is placed in a locker that can be unlocked with a smartphone. Owner Stratis Morfogen says the restaurant was created for the “TikTok generation” and that customers “can be in and out in 10 seconds,” no human interaction required. (Courtesy of Eye Catch)

Each Brooklyn Dumpling Shop has just 3.2 employees: one cook, one expediter, one greeter and one manager — a whole person, despite the “.2″ designation — who can work full-time at five stores at once. Orders made in advance will be placed in a locker, accessed with a smartphone. Geriatric folks who choose to place an order in-person can do so at self-service kiosks. But that’s not the way anyone under 35 is doing it, Morfogen says.

“I believe self-ordering kiosks are going to go the way of the fax machine very quickly,” he says. So, y’know: Use it while you can, oldie.

Morfogen knows what people will say about this relatively faceless place that prides itself on “zero interaction.” He’s already been accused of being “a yuppie [expletive] stealing jobs.”

“Are you the same person who got upset when the tollbooths were removed from the highways? How are you feeling now … going 30 mph without stopping?” he asks rhetorically.

Morfogen says embracing technology — and removing humans from jobs that can be done by computers and smartphones — could save the entire restaurant industry.

And if you don’t believe him? He probably doesn’t care. He was so sure of the business model that he made plans to license 15 locations of the restaurant before the first Brooklyn Dumpling Shop even opened.

The business is based off of a laser-focused culinary approach, that consumers want to eat dumplings filled with their favorite sandwich ingredients — and that they’ll want to be able to get them around the clock, fast.

The chicken parmesan dumpling and the peanut butter and jelly dumpling are best-sellers, Morfogen says.

Yes, he’s thinking what we’re thinking.

“It’s great drunk food. I’m not going to sugar coat it,” he says.

Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is expected to open at 2548 Elm St., Dallas, in early 2023.

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