Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism.
The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

New food options to open in West Lebanon

Cold Stone Creamery, Planet Smoothie and Happy Dumpling will be opening stores in Powerhouse Plaza along Route 12A before the end of the year.


Three new dining options will open in Powerhouse Plaza along Route 12A before the end of the year, according to Powerhouse Plaza leasing agent Josh Durell. According to the Valley News, a “dual concept” Cold Stone Creamery and Planet Smoothie, as well as new local restaurant Happy Dumpling, will open in the West Lebanon plaza between late summer and early fall.

Other stores and restaurants currently in Powerhouse Plaza — which is around five miles from Dartmouth’s campus — include Lui Lui, Eastern Mountain Sports, Lemon Tree and L.L. Bean. 

According to Durell, Cold Stone, a national ice cream chain, is opening a new store in the Upper Valley after closing a number of their New England locations years ago.

“[Cold Stone] kind of [reassessed] the brand and they’re pushing out some stores,” Durell said. “I haven’t had it for years, but it was very good from what I remember.”

Happy Dumpling — which will be run by husband and wife Michael Liu and Jaycee Yu — will serve a “relatively small menu” of “homemade dumplings, noodles and rice bowls,” according to Durell.

“I don’t think they’re doing beer and wine or anything,” Durell said. “It’s just going to be a small cafe, about 2,400 square feet.”

Liu said that he and his wife, both originally from Shanghai, are moving to the Lebanon area from Massachusetts to operate their business.

“[We think] this is a very good space, and it is a commercial hub in the Lebanon area,” Liu said. “This location is very good for our concept. [We will be a] dumpling fast food Chinese restaurant. We will mainly provide dumplings and noodles.”

According to Liu, the recipe for the restaurant’s dumplings is based on that of a famous chain in New York City.

“We are cooperating with a very popular, very good Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, New York City called Super Taste,” Liu said. “We want to copy the wonderful taste of noodles and dumplings from our partner in New York City to [the] Lebanon area.”

Liu added that Happy Dumpling will operate similarly to Five Guys, with customers being able to choose after they receive their food if they want to stay and eat or take their food to go. He said he thinks the concept “will be well accepted by the people in the Upper Valley area.”

Durell explained that the businesses along 12A have been steadily changing “over the last 10 to 15 years,” with more changes expected in the future.

“[The] 12A market is very strong,” Durell said. “K-Mart went out, Target went in, Home Goods [and] PetSmart [came in]. So some of these larger national brands are really [suitable] for space on 12A. I think there’s more to come.”

Durell explained that national brands will “analyze visits” to 12A and “neighboring” shopping centers before they decide to make an entry into the Lebanon area. 

“These national retailers, they don’t just go anywhere unless they utilize all these different kinds of softwares or traffic counts,” Durell said. “They’ve seen … a strong enough pull, even within a one-mile or two-mile [radius] around 12A. West Lebanon pulls from so many towns around New Hampshire and Vermont. [People] will just drive in there to shop and hang out and have dinner. That’s what makes it such a strong trade area.”

Several students said they are excited for the new changes coming to West Lebanon. Cesar Almeida ’27 expressed his excitement about the arrival of Cold Stone Creamery, a familiar brand from his hometown of Los Angeles.

“I really love Cold Stone [Creamery],” Almeida said. “There’s a Cold Stone back where I live. … It’s a Cold Stone that I’ve been going to since I was born. It’s cool to think that whenever I’m in [the Upper Valley] I can go hit up Cold Stone.”

However, Almeida said he also appreciates having new local small businesses, such as Happy Dumpling, to “diversify” the area. 

“I know maybe some of the locals might not like [Happy Dumpling] because they’re like, ‘Who are these new people coming in?’” Almeida said. “But I definitely think it would benefit college students, especially people who are from bigger cities.”

Alexander Barrow ’27 added that having a larger variety of food offerings in the area would make people more inclined to drive off campus to get food.

Barrow added that he would enjoy “a little more variety” in off-campus dining options, and said he would be “inclined” to try Happy Dumpling once it opens.

“Regardless of what they [sell], if the food is good they’ll do well,” Barrow said.

With the addition of these new food locations, Almeida said he is excited about what options may come next.

“I want to see a Chipotle because Chipotle is my favorite restaurant,” Almeida said. “But maybe even smaller businesses that come up that are more cultural [and serve] something more authentic — that’s what I’d like to see.”

Durell said he encourages Dartmouth students to stay hopeful about future developments in the Upper Valley.

“I know that there are a lot of tenants coming into the Kohl’s shopping center, [and] there are some big plans to redevelop that JC Penney box,” Durell said. “Keep your ear to the ground as far as the news and what’s happening on 12A, because I think there are going to be a few more strong tenants coming in.” 

In the meantime, Liu said he welcomes all Dartmouth community members to his dumpling store. 

“We expect to open our restaurant in maybe August of this year,” Liu said. “We welcome each of Dartmouth’s students and faculty to come and enjoy our wonderful dumplings and noodles.”