Dumpling Darling set to open Des Moines location

Lunch guests at Dumpling Darling, March 24, 2017. — photo by Frankie Schneckloth

Make way for dumplings! Iowa City favorite Dumpling Darling has plans to expand west into Des Moines this summer.

“The perfect space opened up. We saw it, and knew it was the one,” owner Lesley Triplett remarked. It will be the third Dumpling Darling, joining the restaurant’s current locations in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

Dumpling Darling’s new home will be in an historic property at 212 E. 3rd Street in Des Moines’ East Village. In the early 1900s, the building was home to Iowa’s first female-owned carriage house, which Triplett finds particularly fitting as a female entrepreneur herself.

After carriages fell out of use, the building’s history took an odd turn — it became home to an ostrich hatchery. Out of respect for her new location’s storied past, Triplett said she hopes to be able to introduce ostrich dumplings to the menu.

Plans for the Des Moines location have been in the works since last summer. After spending a lot of time in the area for festivals and other events, Dumpling Darling had made a name for itself in the community.

“We heard from a lot of people in Des Moines they would love to have us closer,” Triplett explained. “We love the city, we love the people. It seemed like the natural, best next step for us.”

The recently renovated 3,000 square ft. space is almost triple the size of their Iowa City location. The larger space will allow for a bigger dining area, and the addition of a bar that will serve international beer and wine selections, as well as soju cocktails. Diners can expect the food offerings to expand slightly (fingers crossed for those ostrich dumplings!), while the restaurant remains true to its roots, serving dumplings, buns and fusion foods.

The Iowa City and Cedar Rapids locations will continue with the original menu and concept, but both have recently added combination plates — “Darling Deals” — that allow customers to sample a handful of items from across the menu.

Dumpling Darling hopes to be operational in Des Moines by July 2018, and will continue to operate in NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids and downtown Iowa City.

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