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NEW IN BUSINESS: Get your fix of dumplings and wontons (Dec. 2020)

December 21st, 2020 · 1 Comment

Brave entrepreneurs open a restaurant during COVID

Serine Shi amd Nigel Schwartz, seen here in front of their College Street location, have opened a new spot on Bloor Street just west of Spadina Road. The couple have enjoyed much success despite COVID-19 restrictions. MARY AN/GLEANER NEWS

By Mary An

The Daily Dumpling Wonton Co. opened a second location on Bloor Street this October, just as COVID-19’s second wave gathered strength.  

“We’ve seen a lot of growth during COVID-19. It seems to be something that people want right now,” says Nigel Schwartz, co-owner of the restaurant.

In the beginning of 2019, Schwartz and his partner Serina Shi, opened their first restaurant on College Street, just east of Ossington Avenue. 

The Daily Dumpling Wonton Co. offers freshly made wontons created and prepared by the owners. The dumplings and wontons are filled with different ingredients such as meat or vegetables, but wontons are often round and served with broth. 

The Daily Dumpling Wonton Co., offers three different unique sauces to go with their hand-made wontons and numerous side-dishes. 

According to Schwartz, the couple started their business with a take-out mind-set. In August 2018, they rented a commercial kitchen space at The Depanneur, where they “did countless rounds of testing recipes.” Two months after nailing the recipe, they started operating as a “virtual kitchen” on UberEats. 

Their business plan also included selling their frozen wontons at local grocery stores. Once they opened up their first restaurant, many customers would either take-out or purchase their wontons. 

“We weren’t as affected as a sit down or dine-in restaurant in that regard,” Schwartz said. “And we have not experienced a significant drop in our business compared to other restaurants because we have a pretty loyal customer base.”

According to Shi, many people have a special connection to the meals created by the Dumpling Wonton Co.

“The kind of dumpling we serve is specific to Shanghai, where people eat them daily, like a comfort meal,” says Shi. 

Shi says she grew up with the scent and taste of wontons, and cooking them has helped her to settle into life away from home.

“When I moved to Canada alone at 16, making wontons  became a solo activity that I did to connect back with my family and culture,” she says. 

“As a new immigrant to Canada, opening a wonton shop helped me form a strong connection between me and this city, making me feel much more at home in Toronto.”

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