Sophie Thakali left her family and their restaurants behind in Nepal in 2006 when she immigrated to the U.S., intent on becoming a CPA. But after years of making dumplings—“momos” in Nepal—for her admiring friends, she decided to leave her accounting job and start her own dumpling shop. Two years later, Tasty Mo:Mo: is slated to open in late March in Somerville’s Magoun Square. And Thakali is on the verge of making her new dream come true.
“I always knew I was going to do this, but I was not sure how or when I was going to start,” Thakali says. “Every time I made them at my house, everyone said, ‘Oh, can you sell these to me?’ And I was like, ‘Sure, why not.’ And it became a habit.”
The dumplings will come in chicken, pork, beef and veggie varieties to start; flavors such as spicy potato and spinach with feta may be added later. You can also order chili momos: any variety of dumpling topped with chili sauce and a sweet and spicy sauce. And all of the dumplings will be less than $7 for an order of eight.
“Every restaurant sells dumplings, but they don’t have Nepalese authentic dumplings,” Thakali says. “I have two different kinds of sauce—one chili and one tomato dipping sauce. The sauce is made from scratch with Szechuan peppers in it, so that makes it taste very different.”
But Thakali knows she’ll need more than momos to be successful. The menu will include a Thakali plate, featuring rice, lentils, mustard greens, tomato sauce, one kind of veggie and goat or chicken, as well as stir-fried noodle dishes popular in Nepal. But she’ll stray from her native country’s traditions in one respect: She’ll offer beef, which is banned in Nepal because the cow is revered as sacred.
Customers can opt for takeout or delivery, or order at the counter and eat within the snug 500-square-foot space, which offers six stools and a table for four overlooking the open kitchen. There’s also a Polaroid camera to encourage diners to post photos of themselves digging in to dumplings on the restaurant wall.
“I want it to feel welcoming and open to everyone,” Thakali says. “I have a lot of competition, so I want to stand out and be the best.”
Tasty Mo:Mo: 503B Medford St., Somerville (617-764-0222)