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From Supper Club to Dumplings; This New Business Sings

bowl of dumplings on a blue background

Richard Lee and Claire Guyer, creators of Portland, Maine-based Little Brother Chinese Food have always shared a love of food (Guyer was once a baker, and Lee was a line cook). While living in Chicago, the two ran a supper club out of their apartment to introduce their favorite foods to friends.

“It started with us hosting friends but then slowly grew,” said Guyer. “We would have people message us on Instagram asking for party information. Then we would Venmo our guests and provide them with a coursed meal.”

Just before the pandemic, the couple moved to Maine and had every intention of starting a supper club out east. Unfortunately, COVID put a damper on these plans. They had to think of a new way to incorporate their love of food into their everyday lives.

richard and claire

Then, while making large batches of frozen dumplings at the beginning of the pandemic, they came up with an idea. “We were looking for something that people could prepare easily at home, and dumplings were a natural way to start,” said Lee. “It’s a practice that has been part of my whole life.”

In February of 2021, the couple launched Little Brother Chinese Food. The company’s name is an ode to Lee’s childhood nickname, and the style of food stems from his Chinese heritage.

Currently, the company offers a variety of jiaozi (Chinese dumplings), broth, rangoons and hot sauce. “Our most popular item is our Pork and Napa Cabbage Dumplings,” said Lee. This is a classic family recipe passed down from Lee’s grandmother and aunt.

The company is leasing space in the Fork Food Lab in Portland, a nonprofit shared space for food-focused businesses. “The Fork Food lab is very communal and has many great resources,” Guyer said. “Portland also has an incredible independent food media scene. We were picked up by several blogs and Portland food influencers early on, which really helped get our name out to the public.”

bowl of mixed dumplings

In February of 2022, the duo plans to swap out their Spicy Beef and Onion Jiaozi for Beef and Broccoli. “Imagine your traditional beef and broccoli dish, but in dumpling form,” said Lee. They also plan to introduce Yangzhou style fried rice to their menu.

If you want to try it, you can pick up your order at the Fork Food Lab (72 Parris Street) or at other smaller markets and local purveyors in the Portland area. Ultimately, their goal is to court new markets and collaborate with more prominent wholesale vendors. The two say they’ve had customers drive up from as far away as New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but ultimately they want to reach a more national audience.


Nicolette Degrassi

Nicolette Degrassi is a Boston based food and travel blogger. When she's not traveling the world, you can find her reading the latest Book of the Month novel or trying to perfect her sticky toffee pudding recipe. Follow her adventures on Instagram @nadegrassi.


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