Queen Village has welcomed an influx of new restaurants in the past couple of years — Hungry Pigeon, Ambra, Puyero, Whetstone, Plenty — and it’s about to get another.
Glenside’s Humpty Dumplings is opening a storefront at 705 E. Passyunk Ave., right next to the PNC Bank at the triple intersection of Passyunk, Fifth and Bainbridge.
Target launch date for the fast-casual restaurant is early May or sooner, according to Jack Craig, who co-owns the business with fellow 20-something buddies Pat Doyle and Phillip Yesenosky. Expansion has been in the plans from the start, he said, ever since what started as a toss-off attempt at a catering business grew into a nationally renowned festival stand — Rolling Stone named Humpty’s the “best thing we ate” at the 2016 Bonnaroo music fest — and then went brick-and-mortar in June 2015.
“We love our product, and everyone who’s ever tried them also loves them,” Craig said. “They offer a lot of versatility. You can take almost any kind of food, and if you cut it up properly, you can stuff it in a dumpling.”
Like the Glenside location, the Queen Village shop will offer a rotating assortment of unorthodox dumplings — options range from roast pork and rabe to buffalo chicken and even apple pie — plus a handful of noodle bowls and salads in two sizes. Chef Joe Ermigiotti, a Johnson and Wales grad who runs the Montco kitchen, will also oversee this one. One difference: Instead of just deep-fried dumplings, the South Philly location will offer have the option to have them steamed instead. Prices are slightly higher in the city than the suburbs, but still reasonable: Five dumplings for $7.50. Bowls run $10, and salads are either $4 or $6.
Order at the wood-and-metal counter, then sit at one of eight tables next to exposed brick walls and have the food brought out to you from the semi-open kitchen, or take it to go. A drink fridge will be stocked with Coca-Cola products.
Each dumpling order comes with a dipping sauce on the side, and the Humpty’s Dumplings line of bottled sauces, made specially for the company by a local partner, will be available for take-home sale ($5.99 each).
The building, which is covered with one of those iconic South Philly Isaiah Zagar mosaic murals, was recently purchased by the same landlord as rents to Humpty’s in Glenside.
“I think he bought it with us in mind for the first floor,” said Craig. “He put in some neat lighting so [the facade] looks really cool at night.”
Additional storefront locations are in the longterm Humpty’s Dumplings plan — “Ideally we see ourselves in areas with a younger crowd; I think it would be great for college areas” — but first up is a new food truck, which will definitely hit up the University City and Temple neighborhoods once it rolls out this summer.
By the way, if you’re thinking of starting a business, the Humpty’s origin story proves sometimes serendipity is all it takes, per Craig:
“Pat and I were sitting around one night, drinking beer and shooting pool, and we got hungry. So we went to the fridge. We saw rotisserie chicken and wonton wrappers, so we made a sauce and threw together dumplings.” Then, “Hey, these are really good! We could sell these.”