Mimi Cheng’s opened its doors last week in the East Village, and it’s already charming a wide swath of the city—from neighborhood residents and foodies to healthy eaters—with its better-for-you approach to delicious dumplings.
One big reason is the dynamite women behind it, Hannah and Marian Cheng, fitness-loving sisters who wanted to combine their passion for wellness with the amazing cuisine their mother (nicknamed Mimi) fed them growing up.
Marian, who worked as an account executive at Burberry and Dolce & Gabana before apprenticing at Sweetgreen, and Hannah, who still works in finance and took a “vacation” to open the shop, are regulars at Barry’s Bootcamp and Sacred Sounds Yoga and spend lots of time running along the Hudson. “We work out because we love to eat,” Hannah laughs. She describes their overall food philosophy as, “We love to eat healthy, but also well.”
That means food that’s bursting with flavor and perfectly cooked—and also made with better ingredients.
Mimi Cheng’s menu comes with just three varieties, The Mimi Cheng (chicken), The Reinvented Classic (pork), and The Mighty Veggie (kale, zucchini, shiitakes, and egg), all of which come packed with scallions and fresh ginger, can be ordered lightly pan-fried in canola oil or steamed, and are served with the house “secret sauce.” There’s also a daily market veggie side. Grass-fed and organic meats are sourced from Fleisher’s, and the produce used is organic, too.
The pair says they’ll introduce specials eventually, but for now, they’re just working around the clock to keep up with demand.
When I visited at the end of the lunch rush on day two, the tiny, pretty white-washed space was brimming with activity. All 16 seats were occupied and a line of people waited while Marian and Hannah shouted out order names rapid fire. By 2:00 p.m., they were out of veggie dumplings, and it was time to close up so they could make more of everything in time for dinner. Said Marian, “It’s really just ‘how fast can we fold them?!'” —Lisa Elaine Held
Mimi Cheng’s, 179 Second Ave., between 11th and 12th Sts., www.mimichengs.com