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The Daily Tar Heel

Wheat 麦茶 replaces Shanghai Dumpling on Franklin Street

Wheat, previously Shanghai Dumpling, appears to have rebranded the restaurant on Franklin Street on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

Residents walking down Franklin Street recently might have noticed different signs in the windows of Shanghai Dumpling, located at 143 E. Franklin St.

Wheat 麦茶, which also serves Chinese cuisine, recently replaced Shanghai Dumpling. 

The signs in the window note the restaurant is currently in its soft opening period. It opens at 11:30 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. daily.

Wheat 麦茶 specializes in authentic Chinese noodles, rice, teas and desserts. It has another location in Durham, at 810 9th St.

Shanghai Dumpling, known for its popularity among students, closed its Franklin Street location sometime in March, according to Stephanie Cobert, the director of marketing at the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.  

Cobert said the CHDP has been attempting to make "inroads" with the new tenants.

“We do our best to reach out to them to offer our services, which are free,” she said. “We do our best to partner with them to help promote anything that they have going on, as well as collaborate on any events or specials or things like that.” 

Cobert also said the partnership did not often work with Shanghai Dumpling.

Bing Tian, a shift leader at the new restaurant, said many students don’t have cars or the means to get authentic Chinese dishes from spots farther than Franklin Street and that they now have Wheat 麦茶 as an option. 

“It's like a Chinese-style fast-food restaurant,” he said.

Tian said that business has not been as steady as he would have liked, but the restaurant is still in its “baby” period, and it's growing a little bit every day. He also said he is concerned about the summer, as he worries things will be very slow once the majority of students return home.

“My biggest wish will be after the summer finishes, this place will be packed — that's my biggest wish,” Tian said.

The owner and manager of the two Wheat麦茶 locations declined to be interviewed by The Daily Tar Heel, and the phone number listed on the Shanghai Dumpling's website has been disconnected.

CHDP does not have much information on what happened with Shanghai Dumpling or why they decided to sell and transition to a new eatery, Cobert said.

Samuel Williams, a first-year at UNC, said he enjoyed Shanghai Dumpling because of its welcoming environment and good food. In fact, it was the first place he tried when he came to campus.

“The food was pretty decent, but the people were nice. That was a welcoming start to the UNC experience," he said. 

Williams said he is somewhat sad about Shanghai Dumpling's closing since it was such a trademark location near UNC's campus, but he’s willing to try any restaurant at least once. 

Vanessa Walcott, a UNC first-year, said she thought Shanghai Dumpling was the best restaurant on Franklin Street and that she would always spend her money there.

She said she was sad to learn Shanghai would be closing, and loved the restaurant because the authentic Chinese food connected her to her Chinese culture. Walcott questioned whether Wheat 麦茶 had the same authenticity as Shanghai Dumpling.


@DTHCityState |

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