Nepalese eatery Momo Palace to open second Worcester location – MassLive.com

Momo Palace in Worcester Public Market is getting a second location on Highland Street in Worcester. (Photo courtesy of Momo Palace)
Tanuj Neupane barely had time to answer questions about opening a new location in between taking orders Friday.
The 34-year-old opened Momo Palace, a stand selling Nepalese dumplings called momos, in the Worcester Public Market when it opened back in 2020.
On Thursday, the Worcester License Commission approved Neupane’s request for a victualer license for a second location at 142B Highland Street.
Neupane said he was interested in a bigger space that will allow him to offer a larger variety of Nepalese dishes.
Neupane is ethnically Nepalese, but was born in Bhutan.
His family told him they were kicked out of Bhutan when he was three and lived in Nepal as refugees for 18 years before they had an opportunity to move to the United States.
Neupane said he couldn’t imagine opening a restaurant back in Nepal because his family had “nothing that would let us open a restaurant or a business.”
He credited his wife, Archana Kafley, and father for helping him open the stand and now the restaurant.
“Without them, it would’ve been impossible to open,” Neupane said.
The stand at the market offers momos that are steamed, fried, or served with soup. They also offer a dish called tornado fries, which is a whole potato cut, dipped in batter, fried, and served with spicy mayo on the top or side.
At the new location, in addition to the momos and tornado fries, Neupane will offer Nepalese street food like alu chop, chat-pat, pan purri, bhakka, and samosas.
He’ll also be offering chow mein, fried rice, ramen, and more.
The food will be very good, but also not too expensive, Neupane emphasized.
When asked if he’d be giving up his stand at the market, Neupane said, “No we are keeping the spot probably forever.”
If it wasn’t for the market, he said, he wouldn’t be able to open a second location.
“I really appreciate the owner of this place,” Neupane said referring to the market’s founder and president Allen Fletcher.
Neupane isn’t the only vendor at Worcester Public Market that’s been able to grow his business. Taqueria del Pueblo opened a second location after starting out in the market. So did Doughnut Homies and Jennifer Lee’s Bakery.
Before starting Momo Palace, Neupane was working at a medical manufacturing company in Marlborough.
“I’ve always wanted to open [a restaurant] and was looking for a right time and right opportunity,” he said, “It was the public market.”
Finding the right spot also led to their second location. Neupane said Highland Street is a good location for his second venture because of its proximity to WPI and other popular restaurants in the city.
The restaurant will seat 20 to start since the property currently only has one unisex bathroom. Once they have the funding to build a second bathroom, Neupane said he’ll expand the number of seats.
Nepalese painting and rare items will make up the decor, Neupane said, including Nepalese instruments and a statue of Buddha.
Neupane still needs final licensing from the state and a permit to build a kitchen in the new location.
He said he hopes to open in about two months.
Opening a new restaurant has made him a little tense but Neupane said he’s also very excited.
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