We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandy Vuong Tobin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandy, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA as the oldest daughter of 3 girls. My parents come from a Chinese ancestry but were born in Vietnam and immigrated to CA in 1979. My dad, Phat Vuong is the one that has had the biggest impact on who I am today. My parents were divorced so my father raised us a single father for a few years until he meet my step mother, Kim Dang. For many years while my sisters were young my dad was the only source of income. He would work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. During the majority of the day he was a chef, then a janitor late at night, and a paper delivery guy in the early morning. His fortitude support our family foster a strong family unit is what laid the foundation for me to be as involved as I am today in my business. Its not just a job or a business for me and my family its for our staff as well. We treat everyday here at Dumpling Inn as the means to support not just our employees but their family’s as well. My father has always raised us to look beyond ourselves and our immediate families. Doing things with intent and making decisions with the idea that the results affect more than 1 individual are the lessons that we strive to focus on daily.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Dumpling Inn was established by Mark Sun in 1994. My family took over in 2016. After meeting Mark and hearing about what he had envisioned for Dumpling Inn we were sold on the idea and spirit of achieving that goal. We continued to use the same team, recipes, and techniques to share the homemade flavors with our guests. We pride ourselves on having something for everyone, from more traditional dishes to the more modern ones. We like being the space that is conducive to a large variety of life events. From first dates to first birthdays we love being a part of it all. Our slogan is “from our family to yours” and we mean that. Being a entrepreneur is not easy especially for restaurant owners right now with COVID-19 regulations. We try to do as much as possible that is recommended by the CDC to keep not only our guests safe but our team as well. Many of our staff are caretakers for older family members so we try to do everything we can to make sure they are not put at risk. Looking past our personal feelings on the regulations, the slight inconvenience could potentially mean keeping somebody healthy so why not. The biggest struggle right now is making ends meet and our staff employed. The only way we can combat that is to continue to be diligent and do what we can to keep our team and guests safe and the doors open.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Many people travel all over the world just to come to San Diego. For some reason that fact didnt hit home until I was in my 20s. As a kid we never really did what the tourists did but as I have gotten older I have made it a point to enjoy everything San Diego has to offer. Some main destinations on the itinerary in no particular order would be my fav. taco joint; Tacos El Gordo. Driving over the bridge to visit Coronado and the Hotel Del. Of course downtown to wonder the gaslamp quarter, seaport village, and tour the Midway. A picnic at sunset cliffs with deep fried squid from the Point Loma Seafood Market is a must and catching the sunset at Cabrillo National Monument is a great past time. Brunch outdoors in north park and getting lost in Balboa Park while visiting one of my favorite destinations, the Balboa Park Botanical Garden and the Japanese Friendship Garden. Of course hiking Torry Pines and tanning on the beach while watching the surfers and possibly even snorkeling with the leopard sharks off the La Jolla Coast. A nice dinner of Korean BBQ in Convoy topped off with sake and yakitori from Hinotez is a must. A day trip fishing for big tuna is one of my current favorite activities, San Diego has some of the best fishing in all of California.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My sister Priscila Vuong deserves a lot of credit and recognition in my story. She is part owner and operator of Dumpling Inn and without her I would have zero work-life balance. Her involvement in the business has allowed me the ability to step away for a few days without worrying about the business. I trust her completely to make the right decisions and choices when it comes to the well being of our team and guests.