One of L.A.'s Best Chinese Dumpling Shops Is Coming to Aurora

Crispy pan-fried dumplings are the top seller at Mason's Dumpling House.
Crispy pan-fried dumplings are the top seller at Mason's Dumpling House.
Courtesy Mason's Dumpling Shop
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

After Luscious Dumplings opened in 2001 in Monrovia, California, it quickly earned praise from the likes of restaurant critic Jonathan Gold for a traditional range of steamed, boiled and pan-fried Chinese dumplings. When the original owners, Alan Lam and Grace Li, decided to retire, explains son-in-law Ker Zhu, "Me and my wife got into the family business seven years ago."

At the beginning of 2018, the couple expanded into nearby Highland Park, naming their new eatery Mason's Dumpling Shop after their son. But even before Mason's opened just a dozen or so miles from its older sibling, Zhu was planning a bigger leap; he was already in talks with the City of Aurora to open a restaurant in Colorado.

Soup dumplings at Mason's.
Soup dumplings at Mason's.
Courtesy Mason's Dumpling Shop

With help from Aurora's Economic & Business Development unit, Zhu found a property at 9655 East Montview Boulevard that previously held a string of dive bars, most recently Del Norte. The building was in bad shape, but Aurora had high hopes for it, as well as for the surrounding retail spaces just a couple of blocks from Stanley Marketplace. "We wanted to be in Denver," Zhu notes, "and Aurora looked very promising; we're bringing something people have never tried before."

And so the dumpling company was ready to build its first restaurant (originally dubbed Zhu Dumplings) outside of California, but planning, permitting, negotiating and hiring contractors took much longer than planned, and Zhu nearly gave up. But demolition of the old dive bar finally began this January.

And now that progress is actually being made, Zhu says the eatery will also be called Mason's Dumpling Shop, and will offer a similar lineup of pan-fried pork dumplings, steamed soup dumplings and boiled dumplings filled with pork, shrimp and vegetables, among the many offerings. There will also be steamed buns, rice bowls and sides, but the menu is short and to the point (differing only slightly from Luscious, which also serves soup noodle bowls).

"Everything is made from scratch," the owner notes. "We make the dough, make the fillings from fresh meat — it's very labor-intensive. We're in at 6 or 6:30 a.m. making dumplings." Because of the time-consuming method, dumplings are only made once a day in batches and often sell out before the end of the day.

"Dumplings are a food you can eat daily, something Chinese people eat regularly," Zhu continues. For this reason, he expects to gain a loyal following in Aurora, noting a young demographic in the city that's interested in trying new things or finding food similar to that in places they've lived before moving to Colorado. He's explored some of Denver's Chinese restaurants and notes that there are very few places making the style of food his restaurants serve, and even fewer where all of the dumpling styles can be found on one menu.

While the original plan called for Mason's Dumpling Shop to be open by now, Zhu's new target is for the last quarter of this year. 

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.