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Sara Timmer and Ryan Van Splinter, the owners of Oh Golly Dumplings, have a talent for injecting humor into everyday life. Case in point: The name of their 10-month-old business comes from one of the many phrases the husband-and-wife team uses around the house in place of profanity. “Holy shiitake” and “I don’t give a Hootie and the Blowfish” are some other examples of their creative expressions.
Timmer and Van Splinter’s wit and love of wordplay is reflected in Oh Golly’s menu of handmade dumplings, too, which they regularly sell at Front Range pop-ups hosted by local restaurants, including Run for the Roses, Dio Mio, Brass Tacks, the Way Back, and Boulder’s Blofish Sushi. The dough-wrapped lineups can run the gamut, flavor-wise, and all iterations sport cheeky names: The OG is filled with ground wagyu beef, purple cabbage, carrot, and serrano chile, with a sweet-spicy black vinegar-soy sauce; the Ain’t Nuttin’ to Cluck With, featuring ground chicken, scallion, and Napa cabbage, comes with a peanut-and-garlic-infused Szechuan peppercorn sauce; and the Curry On is vegan and packed with roasted jackfruit, red curry, mushrooms, and peas with a coconut milk-chile oil sauce.
Before starting Oh Golly in May 2020, Timmer and Van Splinter looked to their travels and to nostalgic dishes to create their dumplings—one of their all-time favorite foods—so they could deliver a bit of carb-y comfort to friends during the early days of the pandemic. “It’s just one of those foods that makes us feel comfortable and gives us a cozy and warm feeling inside,” Van Splinter says. “When we read about the cultures behind dumplings and the fillings that are indicative of either good luck or good fortune, there’s a story to every ingredient.”
Timmer and Van Splinter prepare, roll, fill, and fold the dough for each and every dumpling, and make every filling and sauce from scratch. Together, they produce between 800 to 1,000 dumplings and several sauces for each pop-up, a feat that requires 15 to 20 hours of prep time. The duo spends so much time making dumplings together that they have nicknames for each other: Timmer is chief folding officer (CFO for short) and Van Splinter is senior spice president.
At select pop-ups, Oh Golly also offers a Miniature Hot Dawg, which comes as two petite all-beef dogs (often sourced from River Bear American Meats) crowned with shredded Pecorino Romano and beech mushrooms sautéed in mirin, butter, scallion, garlic, shallot, and soy sauce. The adorable savory masterpieces are served with a chile oil- and Sriracha-spiked Kewpie mayo condiment. The sweet earthiness of the mushrooms paired with the saltiness of the cheese give the dogs a umami richness that will make you crave a full-size version.
Timmer and Van Splinter’s hospitality backgrounds have also helped them launch their new business. Both are longtime bartenders who met in Chicago seven years ago while working at two adjoining restaurants; they moved to Colorado in 2015, when Van Splinter received an offer to manage a territory for a distilling company in the Denver area. “It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made because this place has such a sense of community,” he says.
In the future, the couple hopes to open a brick-and-mortar Oh Golly location. Until then, Oh Golly’s next pop-up will be at Brass Tacks on Sunday, March 14, where the dumpling menu will include the OG, the Nuttin’ to Cluck With, and Curry On varieties, as well as the Lil Kimchi, which is filled with ground pork, K.R.E.A.M. Kimchi, ginger, and scallions, with a MisoHot-based sauce for dipping.
The pre-order link will go live on Instagram on March 1. We say reserve your dumplings right away or you’ll be shiitake out of luck.