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Mama’s Dumpling & Coffee – Member Story

Embracing Dreams and Challenges

Mama's Dumpling & CoffeeNestled in Ironwood, Mama’s Dumpling & Coffee offers a delightful fusion of Chinese-style cuisine and Western-style tea & coffee. This blend of flavours and cultures is intentional. The Mama’s story began in 2001 when Lisa Zhang, seeking a better future for her two daughters, immigrated to Canada permanently.

Although Lisa dreamt of opening her own restaurant ever since she moved to Canada, circumstances led to delays. The opportunity presented itself in 2015 when she stumbled upon a location for sale, reigniting her passion for culinary entrepreneurship. With her daughters off to university, Lisa finally had time to focus on her dreams.

As a former restaurant owner in China, Lisa knew the challenges that come with the business and wanted to do things differently the second time around. She wanted to be hands-on with the restaurant and throughout 2015 she learned to do everything herself from culinary skills to business management.

Hidden gem to Local Favorite

Naming it "Mama's" after her daughters' (Anna and Annie Ma) initials and last name, in 2016, she launched her restaurant with an emphasis on fresh and quality ingredients, and serving accessible, delicious cuisine, from her immaculate kitchen. Lisa curated a menu that appealed to people from all backgrounds creating a unique combination of Chinese and Western flavours.

Lisa says that she chose to locate in a hidden corner of Ironwood as she wanted her food to speak for itself. She envisioned a loyal customer base who would travel to get a taste of her culinary creations. Today, she is greeted by familiar faces—loyal customers who have supported her for several years and have formed personal connections with her along the way.

Over the years, Mama’s has faced many challenges: from pandemic restrictions to labour retention. However, no challenge has deterred Lisa from her ambitions. She says “This restaurant is my third child. Opening this restaurant was my choice and I have to choose to continue because I can’t walk away from it, just like I won’t walk away from my children during a difficult time”.

As Mama's Dumpling & Coffee continues to thrive, Lisa’s vision extends beyond its walls. With plans to franchise the concept and establish a central kitchen to support the local community, she hopes to empower other women by providing a sense of ownership and belonging for those feeling homesick – creating their own home away from home.

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"Participation in the Richmond Chamber of Commerce has proven to be an excellent way to connect with, contribute to, and learn from the Richmond business community. As a young business professional myself, the Chamber of Commerce has directly impacted my growth and success at Novex. This is largely due to the hardworking staff who put on numerous events and are always available to offer their support to members."

Brett Surgenor, Brand Manager - Novex Delivery Solutions

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