The renowned Asian fusion and dumpling destination that started as a food truck back in 2012 is now expanding to a 4,000-square-foot factory in South Boston: that’s the equivalent space of 200 food trucks!
After nearly ten years of servicing from the food truck and their restaurant once on 506 Park Drive at the intersection of Fenway and Boston University, the business model is changing, according to the Mei Mei website. In fact, the sibling trio, Mei, Andy, and Irene Li who run and own Mei Mei (which translates to little sister in Chinese) want you to know that “Mei Mei isn’t going anywhere, instead, their dumplings are going everywhere!”
Irene Li recently was among the winners of the 2022 James Beard Award, which according to the foundation’s press release highlights “the visionaries responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more equitable, and sustainable food system” (past recipients include former First Lady Michelle Obama).
The pandemic caused a shift in the business model, with the food truck and dining room closed, Mei Mei focused on taking food from the farm directly to your dining table. Mei Mei’s hero item, the dumpling, was offered for local delivery, shipping, and pickup throughout the pandemic.
Demand exploded, and the rest is history! Mei Mei’s dumpling factory is set to open in January of 2023, just in time for Chinese New Year at the infamous Iron Works building in South Boston, a hub of manufacturing innovation. The marquee of the Mei Mei manufacturing location will be its proprietary dumpling-making machine which can output 8,000 dumplings an hour!
The best part is, you can watch the whole thing. A glass window will allow you to take in on the action of all the piping, rolling, and pressing that goes into making these signature dumplings. And as Mei Mei hopes to share their dumplings with the rest of the world with this step, you can luckily still enjoy the bespoke Mei Mei signatures at the cafe like their Cheddar Scallion Potato Dumplings and potentially the Mei Mei Double Awesome, a scallion pancake sandwich with a runny egg, melted cheese, and lots of seasonal homemade pesto.
The multifaceted cafe space will double as a classroom for guests to learn how to make dumplings by hand in a public class or private booking, according to Chef Irene Li. Mei Mei is currently fundraising for this new milestone which you can learn more about here. While the business is scaling significantly, they’ve held true to its brand ethos of locally sourced, farm-focused Li-family-inspired cuisine and creating healthy jobs for its employees!
Find Mei Mei at 58 Old Colony Ave., Boston in early 2023