Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung offers a variety of Chinese dishes. Among its specialties are its dumplings, which come in many forms, from vegetarian to soup filled pork dumplings.
Din Tai Fung offers a variety of Chinese dishes. Among its specialties are its dumplings, which come in many forms, from vegetarian to soup filled pork dumplings.Photo by Andrew Tat
Dim sum will soon be a short walk or bus ride away when the highly popular Din Tai Fung restaurant opens in University Village this fall.
The Taiwan-based dim sum restaurant, known for its steamed dumplings, has a wide presence throughout Asia but has only three other restaurant locations in the United States. One is in Bellevue, Wash., and the other two are in Los Angeles.
After hearing customer demand for another Seattle area location, UW alumnus David Wasielewski, managing partner of the Bellevue and upcoming U-Village locations, met with University Village management to discuss bringing the company to this region of the city.
“We really enjoyed our two and a half years here at the Bellevue Square complex, and we really see a benefit of being in this type of high-end shopping center [environment],” he said. “After having met with the general manager [of U-Village] … I just really shared her vision, and I really enjoyed and really liked what they did for U-Village in the past five to 10 years.”
Talks for this restaurant to come to University Village began a little over a year ago, according to Susie Plummer, vice president and general manager of University Village.
“We knew that we wanted to add several larger restaurants to the mix at U-Village and were looking for locally-owned, quality restaurants,” she said via email.
Din Tai Fung fit the ticket. The restaurant has topped numerous “best restaurant” lists and won several awards since it was founded in 1958. The Bellevue location attracted so much buzz after its grand opening in 2010 that waiting times reached three hours long.
The new restaurant will be located in the six-story south building currently under construction in University Village. The building will house a 700-stall parking garage, set to open in late summer, and several other restaurants and retail stores, which will open in the fall.
“We think Din Tai Fung offers a healthy and unique dining experience that will complement our other eateries,” Plummer said. “[It] is owned and managed by a local team that is honestly one of the most committed restaurateurs I have ever met … [Wasielewski] is constantly looking for ways to better the dining experience for his customers.”
His customers seem to be pleased about this expansion decision. Brian Zhong, a UW senior, said he frequents the Din Tai Fung in Bellevue at least once per month.
“It’s a really good restaurant from Taiwan,” he said. “I do like it, [even though] I come from a place [in China] that eats a lot of spicy foods … Din Tai Fung has a lot of variety.”
He also noted the diverse customer base of the restaurant, which he believes is similar to the student population at the UW.
“If you’ve been to Din Tai Fung before, you would probably notice that it is not only Asians dining there,” he said. “I think [that fact that it will] open near UW is really great because UW is really diverse.”
Robert Sronce, a University Village employee, had similar thoughts. In addition to saying that Din Tai Fung is one of the best dim sum places he has ever dined at, he also believes that the U-District’s diversity will benefit both the restaurant and the customer base.
“For me personally, I think it’s one of the most traditional Chinese dim sum places I’ve been to, so I think it’d be a great addition to the U-District and U-Village area,” he said. “It’ll be fantastic.”
Wasielewski is glad the company will be able to grow into the U-District community as well, for more than business reasons.
“A UW grad myself, going to U-Village or being part of the UW community is something, on a personal level, that is exciting for me,” he said. “So we’re hoping for a successful opening and the support of the local community.”
Reach reporter Shirley Qiu at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @callmeshirleyq
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