Mei Mei Street Kitchen Is Looking to Expand

Get ready for pizza, pop-ups, and a potential new location in the Seaport District.

mei mei

Photo by Mei Mei Street Kitchen/Facebook.

Following in the footsteps of chefs like Tony Maws (Craigie on Main), Matt Gaudet (West Bridge), and Tim Wiechmann (Bronwyn), the three sibling owners of Mei Mei Street Kitchen have introduced a weekly hot dog special that raises the bar on the classic American street food. Using all pasture-raised pork and beef frankfurters from The Piggery in Ithaca, New York (where co-owner Irene Li is working while finishing her degree at Cornell), Mei Mei is currently offering toppings like a soy aioli, dijon cheddar béchamel sauce, and organic watermelon radish relish spiced with cumin and coriander.

Initially, the Hot Dawg will remain a Wednesday-only special at their food truck in Dewey Square and at their brick and mortar restaurant located near Audubon Circle, but co-owner Andrew Li says you might be seeing a lot more hot dogs from Mei Mei come this summer.

“We’re in discussions right now with a company that’s going to be fabricating shipping container kiosks down in the Seaport down near the Design Center,” Li says. “We’re experimenting with hot dogs as a low-prep menu item. A lot of the things we do are from scratch, so the hot dogs would be able to source and put right on the grill. Irene, the youngest sibling, works at … The Piggery in Ithaca and over the holidays, she brought back two cases. We’re running a little proof of concept to see what the feedback is like. So far it’s been great.”

Mei Mei chef Peter Schantz says the restaurant is experimenting with other varieties like a hot dog with braised cabbage and brussels sprout kimchi, among many others. Additional menu items for their potential Seaport location include Sicilian-style pizza with toppings inspired by takeout Chinese food such as their savory kung pao chicken dip. The pizza, as well as other potential new menu items, will be at the heart of their upcoming bimonthly “restaurant testing” pop-ups that will take place on Monday nights starting in February.

Although co-owner Margaret “Mei” Li says nothing is set in stone with the yet-unannounced Seaport project, the Mei Mei trio seems optimistic about expanding in 2015. Even if they don’t take part in the Seaport pilot program—something Andrew Li says will include both restaurant and retail spaces—the restaurant is aggressively pursuing opportunities outside of their comfort zone.

“We’re definitely exploring new options,” Margaret Li says. “Whatever we do, it’s not just going to be another food truck or brick and mortar. We want to get involved in something that will really challenge us and bring us closer to learning the food system as a whole.”

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