It’s Good Fortune
From braised beef wontons to green curry shrimp, Lucky Dumpling offers a selection of innovative dim sum—perfect to share with family and friends.
You might think that an Asian-fusion restaurant is an unlikely choice for a holiday food article. If so, you don’t know celebrity Chef Brother Luck. Lucky Dumpling, his hip new eatery on downtown’s east side, may very well become one of your new holiday favorites. And his story will warm your heart.
Chef Luck grew up in San Francisco, amid the exotic sights and smells of Chinatown. His earliest food memory was eating potstickers, a Chinese dumpling, with his father in nearby Japantown.
But Luck’s journey took an unexpected turn.
When he was 10 years old, his father died. His mother’s efforts to support her two young sons took her away from the family, so Chef Luck and his younger brother spent their adolescence without parental supervision. They found themselves on the streets. They hung out with pimps and hustlers, gangs and drug dealers.
“It was solitary and lonely,” Luck says. “You find ways to numb those feelings with drugs and alcohol. My teenage years were dark.”
At the age of 16, Luck moved to Phoenix with his brother. He was enrolled in a vocational school where he signed up for a culinary program called the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). C-CAP works with inner-city schools to prepare students for careers in the culinary and hospitality industries. Chef Luck’s initial motivation was simple: “I wanted to talk to girls and get a free lunch every day.”
But C-CAP did so much more. It saved his life. “For the first time since my dad died,” Chef Luck says, “I had positive male role models give me compliments on my food.”
He even won a $30,000 scholarship through C-CAP to the Art Institute of Phoenix. When Chef Luck entered its two-year culinary program at the age of 18, he worked under a dim sum master. Chef Luck’s first question on the first day was “How do I make dumplings from scratch?”
Chef Luck continued to perfect his techniques through travel and study in China and Japan. Then, in 2017, he took a detour and opened upscale eatery Four by Brother Luck, featuring New American fare with a focus on the historical Four Corners region.
But his passion for dumplings grew. In the spring of 2019, he opened Lucky Dumpling. He wanted to create a lively, casual space where family and friends could gather to share small bites. His open kitchen concept offers a special treat. Guests can watch the chefs work their magic from front-row seats at the bar.
And that magic takes Chef’s love of dumplings and adds his own touch of creativity to every bite. “Because I am American,” Luck says, “I want to do what we do best in America—fuse cultures.”
Take the fried chicken and dumplings, which Luck calls the perfect comfort food. This addictive dish blends southern Creole memories, a tribute to his father’s heritage, with steamed bao buns.
Or choose the beef won tons, which remind Chef Luck of a fun twist on prime rib. Tender braised beef is tucked inside won tons, then served with dashi, horseradish crème, chives, and roasted tomatoes.
The “Not so German” egg rolls are a playful tribute to the dish that eliminated Chef Luck from Bravo’s Top Chef. With duck confit, Asian bok choy, cabbage, and apples, it’s a tasty fusion of German and Asian cuisines. We guarantee you’ll come back for more.
Chef Luck’s latest addition to the menu, the roast suckling pig, is the perfect holiday dish. Reminiscent of roast duck or goose, this delicacy, cooked in a wooden smoke box called a Caja China, will give you and your guests visions of holidays past.
But Lucky Dumpling isn’t all about food. The cocktail program is inspired by Chef Luck’s passion for hip-hop music and martial arts films. Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a hip-hop icon and member of the Wu-Tang Clan, became the ODB Fashioned, made with rye whiskey, agave, and Chinese bitters.
Chef Luck has come a long way from that little boy who ran the streets in San Francisco. “I’ve truly embraced my past and who I am as a person,” Luck says. “I’ve learned to be vulnerable and not be ashamed. Now I’m sharing my story with the intention of helping others.”
Dazzle your holiday guests with two of Lucky Dumpling’s most popular cocktails.
• 2 oz. vodka
• 0.5 oz. lemon juice
• 0.5 oz. yuzu
• 1 oz. lemongrass
• simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a shaker that is ¾ full with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass that has been rimmed with citrus sugar. Garnish with a floating lemon wheel.
• 2 oz. silver tequila
• 1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
• 0.5 oz. lychee liquor
• 0.5 oz. lime juice
• Splash of ginger ale
Combine first four ingredients in a shaker that is ¾ full with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a floating grapefruit twist.
26 South Wahsatch Avenue / 719.418.5843 / luckydumplingco.com