When you’re hungry for good food, you might pass industrial parks in Richmond without giving them the slightest consideration. “This isn’t where dumplings can be found,” you may be thinking.
In fact, some incredible dining establishments are situated in seemingly lonely industrial areas. And many of them fill up quickly with people who work nearby, as well as those in the know who flock to them regularly. Who knew that industrial parks could be such great dining destinations?
From the outside, Lamajoun (#128 - 11782 River Road) looks unremarkable—but inside you’ll find a charming, small front-of-house space, with a large kitchen in the back where workers are busily rolling out dough and prepping ingredients. The family-run café specializes in Armenian and Georgian cuisine, and is known particularly for their pide, a pizza-like dish shaped into a boat, with filling in the middle. Particularly good is a version with basturma (cured beef), a medley of cheeses (feta, cottage cheese, cheddar), and an egg on top. Other items include khinkali, Georgian dumplings filled with ground beef, onion, and cilantro; as well as grilled beef kebabs wrapped in fresh lavash flatbread. Lamajoun’s motto is “Baked with Love,” evidenced in the fresh, high-quality flavours of the home-style food.
Try the pide from Lamajoun. | Photo: Tara Lee
Zia’s Café & Grill
Run by a father and son dynamic duo, Zia and Sama Arfaee, Zia’s Café & Grill (#1133 - 13700 Mayfield Place) is a cheerful café serving a new menu. What makes this establishment unique are the Persian influences on the menu that attest to the family’s cultural roots. The new menu includes dishes such as the joojeh kabob (saffron and lemon marinated chicken) on rice and the koobideh (minced beef kebab) wrap. Zia's is currently open for takeout and delivery.
Mama’s Dumpling & Coffee
The logo of a happy dumpling licking its lips says it all: Mama’s Dumpling & Coffee (#103 - 11782 Hammersmith Way) is the place for superb dumplings. Currently open for takeout, this Shanghainese restaurant has an extensive dumpling menu that includes xiao long bao soup dumplings, sheng jian bao (fried pork buns), pork wontons, and a wide array of boiled dumplings, including one with shrimp, scrambled egg, and chives. The menu also features noodles (such as fried handmade Shanghai noodles), as well as vegetable, seafood, and meat dishes (such as tender braised pork belly with chestnuts)
.Fried pork buns from Mama's Dumpling & Coffee. | Photo: Tara Lee
Boy With A Knife
Run by chef Brandon Dac and Sean Fay, Boy With A Knife (#7 - 3331 Viking Way) is a triple threat: a catering company, a sandwich bar/deli for on-the-go snacks and meals, and a sit-down restaurant/grill. Exacting quality and technique are showcased in all items, such as a grilled Cuban sandwich consisting of roasted pork shoulder, ham, burnt onion dust, salsa verde, dijon mustard, pickle, Monterey Jack cheese, and arugula on a ciabatta baguette. Boy With A Knife also makes a killer burger, including their Old School version with cheddar cheese, bacon, red onion, pickles, butter lettuce, tomato, and ballpark sauce. Other meal options include comforting butter chicken and their Hoké Poké, which includes spicy ahi tuna, green onion, chili, avocado, wakame, tobiko, aonori, pickled ginger, dumpling crisps, and kewpie mayo on brown rice.
Despite its unassuming location, Pearl House (#170 - 4611 No. 6 Road) has developed a loyal following who come for the casual Taiwanese eats. The menu lists a host of Taiwanese favourites, including grilled pork sausage, green onion pancakes, and deep-fried chicken nuggets. The latter is fried golden until delicately crisp and truly addictive. Also featured on the menu are a variety of rice dishes and noodle soups, including, of course, fragrant Taiwanese beef noodle soup (go for the version with beef shank, tendon, and tripe). And a visit to Pearl House wouldn’t be complete without a slushy or tea, such as their classic milk tea with taro.
The deep-fried chicken nuggets from Pearl House. | Photo: Tara Lee