Din Tai Fung going Americana

Arcadia’s Frank Yang is expanding his world famous Din Tai Fung Dumpling House restaurant to feature new shops at mega-developer Rick Caruso’s Americana at Brand in Glendale and later at upscale South Coast Plaza.
The news comes on the heels of Tom Cruise stopping by Din Tai Fung in Taipei during a publicity tour for his new “Oblivion” movie to get some hands-on instruction from Yang’s brother on preparing the signature dumplings…. (Story continues following YouTube video below…)

The America and South Coast franchises will be just the third and fourth Din Tai Fungs in the U.S. (the second is in Seattle), with 70-plus in Taiwan, mainland China, Japan, and throughout Asia. The restaurants offer noodles, pot stickers, fried rice, soups, and truffle dumplings, and the signature xiao long bao, or mini soup-dumplings, the latter of which may initially only be available on the weekends at Americana. USA Today ranked the Arcadia eatery one of the top 10 Chinese restaurants in the nation in 2011, and The New York Times ranked the original in Taipei, opened in 1969, one of the ten best restaurants in the world in 1993.

Yang says Caruso, who spent several years in Arcadia pursuing his proposed Shops of Santa Anita, has been pursuing Yang to open one of his restaurants at his Americana for four years.
Yang, who moved to Arcadia in 1991 to raise his family, wasn’t ready to say yes to Caruso in the past several years. But his son is graduating this spring with a degree in hospitality, and Yang told ArcadiasBest.com that he expects his son, who advised his father to expand his business, will be helping him do just that.

DinTaiFungNewStreetView590x240The 6,800-square foot Americana branch will open in early September in advance of the grand opening of a new Nordstom’s at the mall on Sept. 15, according to Yang. Opting for upscale indoor malls for his expansion as opposed to strip malls, Yang will then open an 8,000 square-foot shop at South Coast Plaza in Orange County’s Costa Mesa next April 2014. Yang’s first expansion came right next door to his original Arcadia restaurant, opened in March 2000, but since the City would not allow him to actually expand, he had to build a separate building just a couple feet away from his first restaurant, which famously had long lines of patrons daily. Even with the second, more elegantly-designed restaurant, built in 2007, there was still a 90-minute wait at 8:30 on a Saturday night earlier this month. The side-by-side Arcadia joints have a combined 7,200 square feet.

Videos of Yang during construction of his first Arcadia expansion below…

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– By Scott Hettrick