A mango-themed dessert shop may sound very specific, but the options are surprisingly plentiful at this South Colorado Boulevard sweets shop. Mango Mango Dessert, the first Colorado outpost of the New York City-born chain that exalts all things mango (with a little durian and green tea thrown in for good measure), opened earlier this year. The restaurant closed for a bit after pandemic mandated dine-in closures began, but reopened in early May for takeout.
“We wanted to bring Asian-style desserts to Denver,” says franchise co-owner Cathy Liu. “There’s not really a place like this here.”
Mango Mango Dessert was established in New York City’s Chinatown in 2013 and has garnered a major following for its Hong Kong-style, fruity desserts. The 50-plus-item menu—not including an additional lineup of smoothies, milks, and teas—features a colorful array of treats. A sampling of the goods: bowls brimming with chunks of juicy mango, with addictively gummy glutinous rice balls (think: sweet dumplings) to cut the fruit’s sweetness; Instagram-ready crepe cakes flavored with durian, Oreo, and green tea; thick black sesame paste soup; and American-style waffle ice cream sandwiches layered with Nutella and whipped cream.
Liu and her four business partners grew up in China and moved to Denver to attend school. When they realized that the Mile High City lacked a shop serving Asian-style desserts from their home country, the group decided to open a store like one they fell in love with in New York. “Denver is a big, dynamic city,” Liu says. “We love this community. Mango Mango Dessert is a famous brand in the East Coast, so we want to bring more diverse food options to this market.”
Liu and her partners trained at a Mango Mango Dessert store in Manhattan to learn how to achieve just the right chewy texture for those rice balls and the perfect amount of layers—between 15 and 18—for the shop’s mille crepe cakes. Every day, they bake the cakes, churn the ice creams, and dice and purée all that fresh mango in the shop.
As for all that fruit, Liu says that they went through 50 boxes of mangoes each week before the coronavirus hit Colorado, the majority of which was sourced from H Mart in Aurora. Now, Mango Mango Dessert will begin sourcing more coveted varieties of the fruit from its New York City headquarters—just in time to satisfy your summertime cravings.
Mango Mango Dessert is currently open for pick up and delivery daily, from 2 to 9 p.m.; 1144 S. Colorado Blvd.