Noodle Lane goes from food truck favorite to Park Slope mainstay, shattering Chinese food stereotypes

Noodle Lane in Park Slope.
Photo by Meaghan McGoldrick O’Neil

A year since opening its brick-and-mortar restaurant in place of an old Park Slope shoe store, Noodle Lane is thriving, serving up storied soup dumplings, Sichuan classics and Cantonese comforts.

At home on Seventh Avenue, Noodle Lane is doing more than just serving up delicious meals. Owner Lane Li — originally from China — hopes to break the mold and shatter stereotypes about Chinese food by focusing on complex flavors and dishes you might not normally see on other restaurant’s menus.

“I wanted to build a neighborhood restaurant where people feel happy and cozy,” she told Brooklyn Paper. “The space and the food have been evolving since we first opened, and I think I have a menu that highlights the complexities of Chinese food and the space to dine in comfortably. I also wanted to push against the notion that Chinese food should be cheap.”

By using “quality ingredients and time-intensive preparation,” Li said she hopes to show diners that “Chinese cuisine can stand shoulder to shoulder-with other haute cuisines worldwide.”

And she’s been doing so long before her restaurant opened its doors.

Noodle Lane owner Lane Li. Photo courtesy of Noodle Lane

Noodle Lane had been a Smorgasburg mainstay since the festival began in Williamsburg 2011, operating out of a food truck. Li eventually grew with the festival — first signing onto its expansion to Prospect Park, and later going on to open a full-fledged kitchen a mile away in March of 2023.

“Brooklyn is a central figure in Noodle Lane‘s story because this borough will always be where culture comes to thrive,” Li said, “and after over a decade at Smorgasburg NYC, I knew that we needed a brick-and-mortar right here in Brooklyn to give my vision a proper home base, to give the community that’s given my family a home, a place to thrive and shine.”

Noodle Lane’s menu is full of fan-favorites, but nothing trumps the restaurant’s soup dumplings — an offering, she told Brooklyn Magazine, would not exist if not for the influence of her son. Now the dumplings — stuffed with either pork, pork and crab, or chicken, all swimming in a hearty broth — are Noodle Lane’s “number one best-seller.”

Noodle Lane’s early days at Smorgasburg in 2013.Photo courtesy of Noodle Lane

The menu also highlights a few other favorites, including “Chef’s Favorite dishes like the Chicken with Garlic Sauce, “Smorgasburg Favorites” like the Dan Dan Noodles and Cold Peanut Noodles and even the “Chef’s Childhood Favorite,” the Shrimp Paste Fried Rice.

The response, she said, has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It gives my family such pride to share our food and story with Brooklyn,” said Li, who “absolutely” plans to return to Smorgasburg for the next summer season, too.

Noodle Lane is located at 230 Seventh Ave. in Park Slope. For more information, visit noodlelane.com.