Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is changing the way New Yorkers eat.

By Andrea Romano
June 15, 2020
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Credit: Daniel Kwak

A lot of people may be feeling apprehensive about going out to bars and restaurants once their cities reopen, but New Yorkers can feel good about this place opening in Lower Manhattan this summer.

Brooklyn Dumpling Shop, an automated dumpling restaurant that is planned to open in the East Village (First Ave. and St. Marks Pl.) later this year, calls itself the first “Zero Human Interaction (Z.H.I.)” restaurant experience, according to its website. Instead of waiters, counter servers, and limited other customers inside the establishment at any moment, diners can use self-cleaning food lockers and contact-free ordering to get delicious dumplings whenever they want.

Credit: Brooklyn Dumpling Shop

Owner Stratis Morfogen told Lonely Planet, “I want our staff and guests protected at all costs.” Decades ago, automats (basically, fast food restaurants that employed vending machines) were actually quite popular. Morfogen told Lonely Planet, “The only reason the automat failed was because technology failed the automat.” As the city grapples with the safest ways to reopen bars and restaurants after the coronavirus lockdown, automated restaurants may become en vogue again.

According to Lonely Planet, no more than two diners at a time can enter the restaurant to place their orders, so be prepared for potential lines. When guests enter, they pass under UV lights and metal detectors to take customers’ temperatures. If the customer is deemed safe to enter (i.e. they don’t have a temperature), they can go to the self-serve kiosk inside to place an order, Lonely Planet reported. Cooks then deliver the food into the lockers.

And the shop has many other mechanisms to keep people safe and germ-free. According to Lonely Planet, the shop will also use triple-filter air conditioning, antibacterial silicone shoe coverings, and disinfectant strips to keep the place sparkling clean. And as for the food, the menu is chock-full of not-so-traditional dumplings with flavors inspired by reuben sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks, cheeseburgers, chicken satay, and even peanut butter and jelly. Morfogen told the New York Post that it will dispense 30,000 dumplings an hour.

So far, there is no set opening date. For more information and to keep up with the restaurant’s updates, visit the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop website.