When The Brooklyn Dumpling Shop opens, it will offer 32 different kind of dumplings. The selection will range from bacon cheeseburger dumplings to ones filled with peanut butter and jelly
The restaurant’s menu is not the only thing that stands out, though. The owners believe that their "contactless dining” model is what is really grabbing the attention of New Yorkers.
“So we have kiosks, ordering pads, where customers can order off their phone or they can order from the kiosks and they basically have no interaction with a cashier,” said co-owner Stratis Morfogen.
When ready, orders will appear in temperature-controlled lockers to be picked up.
It's a throwback of sorts to the automat, restaurants where simple foods and drinks were served by vending machines.
The last of the city's automats closed more than 30 years ago, but the idea of ordering and obtaining food without coming face to face with a human has new appeal with a deadly virus on the loose.
“It seems like a sensible idea for the times, certainly,” said one East Village resident.
“I think this is a very convenient thing for people to grab and go,” said another.
Traditional restaurants have had to close or retool to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Morfogen told NY1 that the automat reduces the threat of person-to-person transmission and for that reason, he’s fielding calls from investors across the country who are interested in franchising.
Ironically, he and his partners had been planning the contactless-dining concept before the pandemic erupted. Their timing proved fortuitous.
“This model really works for today’s times,” said Morfogen.
Still, the owners aren’t leaving anything to chance. They’ve created a 40-point safety plan that they've already implemented at their other restaurant, the Brooklyn Chop House in Lower Manhattan.
They’ve already invested in a custom-made thermal scanner designed to take each customer's temperature upon arrival.
“I’m proud to say we went overboard,” said Morfogen.
The owners of Brooklyn Dumpling still have a few odds and ends to take care of before they can open, but they hope to have things up and running by August.