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Scaffolding Removed from Popular Midtown Dumpling Restaurant

By Mathew Katz | February 15, 2013 7:47am

MIDTOWN — A landlord on West 38th Street has finally seen the light.

After the owner of a popular dumpling house accused its landlord of trying to destroy the business by blocking it off with construction netting and scaffolding, a new landlord took over the building and brought down the troublesome barricades last week, the restaurant owner said.

The 8-foot-high scaffolding in front of Spring — which previous landlord AM Property Group argued in court was essential to protect pedestrians from a crumbling facade — came down on Feb. 7, even though AM Property said last fall it would have to stay up for years.

Spring's owner, Mark Yuan, brought AM Property to court, claiming the construction shed was a ploy to ruin him after he refused to leave the space just months into his 10-year lease at 36 W. 38th St.

AM did not respond to requests for comment, but Yuan said the building was taken over by a new landlord last month. He did not provide information about the new owner, but property records show the address did change hands. 

Spring, which specializes in dumplings, potstickers, Chinese tapas and other traditional food based on the northern Chinese cooking of Yuan's mother, became a hit with the lunchtime crowd since opening in November, even though it was obscured from the street.

With the scaffolding gone, light from the outside can now shine into the space through its floor-to-ceiling windows, and Yuan said he's had a lot of new customers discover his restaurant.

"So many people just noticed we're here," Yuan said while serving up potstickers during a busy lunch hour."They've been asking if I only just opened."

The spot has earned rave reviews on Yelp from customers who praise the food and Yuan's friendly service. The eatery recently introduced a happy hour with discounted beer and wine from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. 

"Every day at lunch now, there's a line all the way out the door," Yuan said.

"I think it will keep going. The food is important, but the service, the friendliness — that's more important than food."