Rickshaw Dumpling Bar Coming to Midtown?

Anito Lo has told Grub St. that “though she closed the 8th Street location of Rickshaw Dumpling Bar due to high rent, she is hoping to reopen it in Midtown.” That’s strange. I can’t imagine Midtown rents are cheaper than the Village, and the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck only spends a few days a week here (you would think that if business were great they’d spend all week, right?) On the other hand, there isn’t really any fast food Asian soup/dumpling competition, and a full service location would enable them to sell their full menu (the truck has pretty limited options.) Can Midtown really support a 5-7 day a week brick and mortar Rickshaw Dumpling Bar? Should be interesting to see how this plays out…

A Proper +/- of the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck


  • I couldn’t agree with you more Zach about midtown rents. I don’t see how a new store can survive. I’m shocked actually that the flatiron store is still open and the truck in operation. The product truly sucks – especially when you consider what is available in Koreatown, Chinatown, etc. and the prices charged. Also, according to Martha Stewart “They make the best dumplings in town” – I rest my case.

  • I will eat here everyday if they come to midtown. In fact, I will invent a meal between brunch and lunch just so I can eat here one more time during work.

    Back of the envelope calculation, If I spend $50 bucks a day here on five meals, that’s over $15,000 a year. We can support a dumpling place in Midtown, We can do it, We have the technology…

  • Good riddance to bad rubbish! May they all close down! Pricey and vile food has no business on our menus!

  • I work right next door to the 23rd location. I thought it was going to be the most amazing thing when it opened up. I now find myself taking the train to Chinatown for lunch. Rickshaw is fancier, but 5 or 6 for a dolla from a hole in the wall is too hard to pass up.

  • I work around the corner from the 8th St location and i’m not surprised it closed. They’re just too expensive and not filling enough for the area. For a buck more i’d cross the street for Cafetasia. I didn’t despise it like some people (hi Hater!) but there’s too many other good options around. This stretch of 8th st is a black hole of overpriced evil anyways – Rickshaw was smack between Cosi and Chipotle, across the street from ‘Wichcraft.
    Even with higher rent, they’ll probs fair better in Midtown: fewer poor students, more working professionals and tourists, and further from Chinatown.

  • Why don’t they move to NJ and save us all the trouble?

  • Injustice! Blech to Rickshaw. I spent $12 on dumplings and soup there and came to chinatown and had the same dish – maybe better – for $4.

  • @ Heidi – then there could be two stinks from Jersey. Of maple syrup and of dumplings

  • Hey Guys:

    It’s Kenny, Anita’s partner from Rickshaw. Zach, thank you for all of the shout outs regarding the truck. This is my first response to comments on a blog, but I thought I would put in my two cents. I hope I don’t get too ripped up!

    Yes, the rent was very high as Anita said on 8th Street and while rents in midtown are pricey, the combination of (1.) our goal of doing a smaller store, (2.) the softening of the real estate market and (3.) a high density of people that support our truck in midtown makes us really want to put in a brick and mortar store up there.

    Regarding the truck: we would love to be in midtown all week long, and indeed being on 52nd and Lex on Tuesdays and 45th and 6th on Fridays is very busy (thanks for showing the dumpling love!) but with only one truck (so far!) we like cruising around the city and going to spots that people suggest we should try (email us new spots!) and potentially also using the truck to figure out where we can put new shops.

    And to the people that do think we are pricey compared to Chinatown, I want to remind them that by locating in the spots we do for customer convenience (23rd Street) we have higher rent costs compared to Chinatown which may be a bit difficult for most customers to get to, and I think we do have great dumplings with awesome recipes by our chef, Anita Lo and we use great ingredients that you may not find down in Chinatown. It really is what’s inside that counts thus we use Bell and Evan’s chicken, locally grown Hudson Valley duck and organic edamame in our dumplings.

    Thanks, Zach for creating a great forum and see you on the truck!

  • @Kenny,

    If you want to win our love. Join the midtown lunch sandwich challenge. All those dumpling houses in ctown do the sesame bread sandwich. Do something similar at a lower (than your normal) price point for a month and maybe you can change the hearts and minds of those hardened by your prices. Just a thought.

  • I think that Rickshaw Dumpling Bar should not be compared to any of those places in Chinatown. It’s not about location, it’s not about cost– it’s about the purpose. RDB is trying to make upscale dumplings, trying to up the profile of dumplings beyond just a simple family operation. You want “high quality dumplings,” go to RDB.

    And that is why I am 100% against RDB. I’ve been to their 8th Street location and the Peking duck dumplings I received were horrendously cooked. Not overcooked–that wouldn’t be correct–but just done very poorly. They were dripping with oil and the skins were hard. Not al dente pleasant, but just… too chewy. The meat filling was skinny and unimpressive. The saving grace, and even then, not that enjoyable, was the sauce which imparted the only flavor to be found. There is no reason to pay $1/dumpling for “quality” ingredients, when a cheaper dumpling using non-specific-origined ingredients tastes many times better– I don’t appreciate the careful calculation of this restaurant in trying to be trendy. I appreciate the locavore movement and its respect of food sources, but I don’t support its rampant misuse or use simply as justification for improbable pricing. Do one thing, do it well, and price appropriately. RDB fails on the latter two counts.

  • Kenny – If your business was doing well, you wouldn’t need a truck. It sort of defeats the purpose of trying to have a higher class store to selling food off the truck. and STOP following the Treats Truck around. Why aren’t you original. I would want to kick your ass too if I was a Mr. Softie truck following me to my location..A little originality would help.

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