They’re not just on Main Street in Babylon anymore.
Long Island Dumplings — an offshoot of the popular Long Island Pekin restaurant in Babylon — has arrived in Manhattan, with the opening of an outpost on Sixth Avenue, just south of 14th Street.
But unlike Long Island Pekin, which opened at 96 E. Main St. in 2019, Long Island Dumpling is designed to be what owner Jason Lee described as “more of an express menu spot.” So don’t expect to see whole Peking Ducks like the ones that go for $72 in Babylon.
“It’s kind of like when you go to those New York City Gray’s Papaya hot dog places,” owner Lee said. “You can have a bar to stand but it’s more of a quick-stop place.”
The shop at 513 Sixth Ave., which offers at least 25 different types of handmade dumplings daily along with dim sum, is the latest project for Lee, a 41-year-old Merrick resident whose restaurant career began in New York City.
The opportunity to expand to Manhattan came as the lease was ending on the Sixth Avenue space for a friend of a friend who previously had a restaurant at that location. While Lee’s business partner suggested opening an outlet there, Lee saw it as an opportunity to build the brand with a focus on dumplings.
“I just always gravitated toward cooking since I was 14,” he said. “I’ve been cooking since an early age.”
Among the soup dumplings filled with bone broth are pork and crab dumplings, served six per order. New offerings include vegan truffle soup dumplings with fresh and dried mushrooms, potatoes and truffles.
“Our soup dumplings are very popular, but we’ve never made a vegan one,” Lee said. “Our soup dumplings are the big draw and to incentivize people to try out the new spot, we are doing things a little differently.”
The menu includes a variety of steamed and pan-fried potstickers, including pork & chive, chicken & corn, along with veggie dumplings with carrots, celery, cabbage, jicama and dried mushrooms.
Long Island Dumplings also has sweet and spicy noodles and soupy noodles billed as “a warm, savory hug in the form of noodle soup.”
And just like its Babylon sibling — which makes a point of explaining online, “No, we didn’t forget the ‘g’ at the end of ‘Pekin’” — the new Sixth Avenue spot is trying to make sense of keeping Long Island in its name.
“Just to have brand recognition between the two,” Lee said.
And while there is much more competition for the dumpling dollars in the city than on the South Shore, Lee is optimistic that Long Island Dumplings can make it in Manhattan.
“There’s just so many people recycling every day between tourists and locals,” he said. “There is so much foot traffic that there is room for everybody.”
Top: Outside of the new Long Island Dumplings in NYC, located 513 6th Ave, New York, N.Y. (GLI Photo: Jose Martinez)