Weston woman opens new restaurant during pandemic and lends a helping hand to sister in need

BROOKLINE, Mass. — As many restaurants are struggling to stay open, one small restaurant owner is taking a leap of faith and opening a new restaurant in Brookline.

“We have to now create a new kind of business for this new environment,” Nadia Liu Spellman owner of Dumpling Daughter said.

Spellman has two Dumpling Daughter locations in Weston and Cambridge. Three days ago she opened a new location in Brookline.

“We just want to keep moving forward because we don’t want this to stop us,” Spellman said.

Dumpling Daughter was thrown a curveball when its Cambridge location was forced to close due to lack of business during the pandemic.

“When we had to close Cambridge I just, I felt for my team and there wasn’t much we could do for them except check in with them,” Spellman said.

Determined to not let her Weston location close she revamped business by launching an app, ramping up takeout and delivery and implementing strict safety procedures.

“Temperature taking, really serious hand washing, masks, gloves,” Spellman said.

She’s now using that same model at Dumpling Daughter in Brookline and business is booming.

“People want comfort food right now,” Spellman said.

But Spellman says it’s not about the money, it’s about serving others.

“If we can bring that one moment of happiness to you, that one meal to you, something that you’re craving that reminds you of the times that were normal, that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Spellman said.

Which is why when her sister, Nicole Liu’s restaurant Vester in Cambridge had to close because of the pandemic, Spellman did what sister do, jumped in to help. Liu set up a pop-up shop in Dumpling Daughter’s Weston location.

“I figured I have nothing to lose and I thought it was such a great idea,” Liu said.

Liu created a new menu and brought back a few of her employees to help. So far it’s been a success.

“I don’t think there are words to describe how grateful I am to have a sister during this time,” Liu said.

Both Liu and Spellman hope their stories inspire others in the industry to put aside the competition and come together during this difficult time.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to your partners and your colleagues. This is a time to make us closer and to lift one another up. I think that’s the silver lining of it all,” Liu said.

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