From humble beginnings as a food truck to its current incarnation as a sit-down café and demonstration kitchen in the heart of one of South Boston’s most rapidly emerging neighborhoods, Mei Mei Dumplings has earned a favored place in the hearts of Massachusetts gastronomes. Farm-focused and woman-owned, Mei Mei sources its ingredients as carefully as it tends to the community it serves. Together with OTJ Architects, Mei Mei leveraged demand for its culinary offerings to expand retail capacity and services from those of a traditional restaurant to a venue equal parts culinary destination, cooking school, and immersive production facility.
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Working in close partnership with Mei Mei’s founders, OTJ led an interactive visioning process that would yield a brand-focused design brief sure to set the tone for a venue that celebrates not only culinary accomplishments but also the spirit of hospitality that propels long-standing ties to the community. The design responds to critical budgetary and scheduling imperatives that called for the creative deployment of architectural gestures expressed through modest materials such as paint and drywall. Accordingly, the design is anchored by a joyful custom mural that illustrates Mei Mei’s products while the space is highlighted by dumpling shaped light fixtures. The carefully considered patron experience is further enhanced by an oversized viewing portal that links the dining area to the production facility where mere manufacturing transcends into culinary performance. Aesthetically vibrant, Mei Mei’s multipurpose space represents a harmony of critical design elements comprised of bold branded accents, themed light fixtured, custom artwork, and bespoke architectural gestures that celebrate the journey from artisanal dumpling production to savoring.
Lifestyle & Hospitality
A farm-focused and woman-owned gourmet success story expands from traditional restaurant to a venue equal parts culinary destination, cooking school, and immersive production facility.