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Mar 11, 2012 08:21 AM

Status of China Bistro (aka "Mama's Dumplings") in Rockville?

Does anyone know the status of China Bistro (aka "Mama'Dumplings") on Route 355 near Rockville? The windows are blacked out and no sign on the door except a "Stop Work Order" from local government.

I sure hope we haven't lost one of the great chow spots in the Rockville area.

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  1. I just asked the folks at the Filipino market/cafe two doors down, and they said that China Bistro is "renovating". That said, China Bistro's blacked-out windows and the orange "stop order" sticker doesn't bode well. Shame, as China Bistro has the best damn dumplings in the D.C.-area.

    1. I'm there every few weeks, and they never said anything about being closed for renovations soon. This can't be good.

      That parking lot and facing being under construction really hurt them for a number of months.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DanielK

        Update -- windows still blacked out as of April 5, although the view through a torn bit in the paper looks exactly the same as before -- i.e. no sign of any renovations. There was no stop work order on the door ... but no signs of life.

        Has anyone heard anything more?

      2. GREAT NEWS, dumpling fans!

        I went into the strip center today to see if there was any update. First thing I noticed was a sign on the glass from the owners, saying to please be patient during renovations. There is also no longer a Stop Work Order from the county.

        But, as I was getting back into my car, I saw one of the women who is usually behind the counter coming up the walk. She recognized me, smiled, and said thank you for coming and checking on us. They did a complete renovation. The kitchen is largely done and they are just waiting on the permits, which they hope to have in the next few days. Workers were building back up the front room while we were talking.


        4 Replies
        1. re: DanielK

          Great news! Thanks for the update.

          1. re: DanielK

            Really, they needed it. One of the few times I went (it's a LONG way from home, but what dumplings!) I asked to be directed to the bathroom ... through the kitchen, back to the farthest corner, into the single facility, and hope the huge crack in the building wall didn't give way before I had washed my hands and returned to my seat.

            1. re: wayne keyser

              I always used trips to the bathroom through the kitchen as an excuse to talk with the family members making the dumplings!

              1. re: DanielK

                Me too! I sort of enjoyed the walk but did wonder how exactly they survived health inspector visits.

                One time I was there, one of the workers was in the john, ill or something. I must have stood there, observed and chatted for about 10 minutes.

          2. They are re-opening tonight (4/19) at 6pm. They just passed final building and fire marshal inspections this afternoon.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Holden

              YES! OPEN!

              Couldn't wait any longer so we went for dinner tonight. No change in the food, but the interior is completely different. Combined the front and side spaces so there's one large dining room, which increases the seating area pretty substantially. New floors, walls, and paint, so the place looks brand new. (Some tables and chairs stayed, but they added new ones.) And the bathroom is now in the front, rather than behind the kitchen.

              I think they've graduated from hole-in-the-wall status!

              1. re: DanielK

                We went tonight as well. We've been craving the dumplings for weeks.

                The food was unchanged except that the dumpling sauce seemed slightly sweeter. I'm curious if I'll notice that again the next time or if my memory is just slightly faulty.

                I agree with your description of the space except that I think that all of the furniture was there before, it's just combining the items that were int he two separate rooms into the same room. I think that booth wall bench and the matching tables in chairs were all in the old back room. Of course the four top tables and folding chairs are straight out of the old front room.

                The look, though, is night and day from before. And much less likely to scare off the uninitiated. Plus, there is space to add more tables and chairs - after they've been open again for a few weeks and can afford to. (I do hope, however, that they never turn on the new wall-mounted TV.)

                We did peek into the back and everything behind from the entrance to the kitchen on back is completely unchanged from before. Same bad floor tile and everything.

                For lack of other information, I've been watching their building permit status daily on the Rockville City website and knew they were scheduled for final building inspector and fire marshall approval today. (They failed both two days ago.) When I saw the PASS post this afternoon, I promptly called to ask when they'd be open. I was shocked when they told me 6pm. I'm not sure how they were able to stock up and get back in business in a matter of hours.

                But I'm not complaining. It's great to have them back.

                (But I'd still consider them a hole in the wall - just a slightly larger and cleaner one.)

                1. re: Holden

                  I think we should do the next chowdown here!

                  1. re: MoCoMe

                    Read this post and a half dozen more for one we did 5 years ago:

                    1. re: BaltEater

                      Absolutely. Several high chairs and friendly staff.