After opening 15 locations across the West Coast in less than a decade, Dough Zone shows no signs of slowing down: The Seattle-based dumpling chain is planning at least six more restaurants in the region this year, two of them in Portland.
The Oregonian reports that by the end of the year, Dough Zone will add restaurants in Beaverton and Happy Valley, joining the first Portland location opened downtown last year. One is expected to open this summer at Beaverton’s Cedar Hills Crossing mall (2645 SW Cedar Hills Boulevard), followed by another in the fall at Happy Valley’s Clackamas Town Center (11840 SE 82nd Avenue). The two shopping center-based outposts will likely be smaller than Portland’s first Dough Zone, a sprawling 7,657-square-foot space at 1910 S River Drive that is one of Portland’s largest restaurants. A company representative told Eater, “Our first Portland location did very well, more than we anticipated, and because of [that] we had the opportunity to expand.”
Jason and Nancy Zhai first opened Dough Zone in a Bellevue, Washington strip mall in 2014 with a menu of dumplings, bao, and noodles. It wasn’t long before the restaurant began to draw massive lines and rake in praise, leading to rapid expansion throughout the greater Seattle area. Dough Zone then opened locations in California and half a dozen more in Washington, followed by the Portland restaurant in 2022.
Dough Zone is known for its huge menu — about 50 items — with a slew of signature dishes revolving around dough or batter. The Q-Bao is filled with Berkshire-Duroc pork, steamed and then pan-fried on the bottom; thin, delicate xiao long bao are filled with ground pork, chicken, or pork and crab; and numerous regional Chinese noodle dishes offer some heat, slick with chile oil or braised beef. The sweet-and-sour cucumbers are beautifully arranged for a cool contrast, and dishes like chewy marinated pig’s ears and braised eggs also appear on the menu.
The new Portland Dough Zones will have some dumpling competition in 2023, however: Din Tai Fung, Dough Zone’s Pacific Northwest competitor, is opening a new restaurant in Portland’s Pioneer Place this year, too.