our story

    We care about food, the earth, and bringing people together. Since its early roots at the farmers market in the summer of 2014 to the first restaurant location in downtown Iowa City, which opened its doors in the spring of 2017, Dumpling Darling has aimed to reflect those values in all that we do. Owner/Chef Lesley Triplett and her husband and co-owner, Brian Triplett, met during college while working at a restaurant a block away from the current location, took off for a while to explore the world while working odd jobs, and returned to the community they love to share the tastes they find interesting. We offer unique, innovative culinary creations that revolve around the dumpling - initially inspired by our love for Korean mandu from our time living in Seoul and evolving into offering dumplings from various cultures around the globe in addition to coming up with fun fusion items. Like pizza and sandwiches, we see the dumpling as an incredibly versatile and fascinating food - pockets of dough filled with limitless possibilities! We also offer non-dumpling fare based on our favorite Korean dishes. We’re always experimenting in our prep kitchen with new items, many of which appear as daily features, and we will continue to push the boundaries of the concept. All our dumplings and buns are handmade and filled with ingredients sourced from local farmers and producers. Our craft sodas are all-natural and organic, and 100% of the material we use to serve our food is fully-compostable. Our goal is to provide our customers with not just a meal but an experience of discovery. Our restaurant is cozy in size and feel, promoting conversation and sharing or daydreaming while gazing out the window while listening to the hippest of jams. We’re open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, and keep our doors open into the wee hours on weekends to feed the hungry night-owls. In the summers we hit the road to share our love for dumplings at festivals around the area, We find joy in introducing people to new flavors and ideas and hope that the experience we offer will be a gateway for our customers to explore new food and places around the globe.