Mike Sheerin Credit: Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Former BLACKBIRD and current Embeya chef Mike Sheerin is out to prove that pretty much anything can go inside a dumpling. At his fast-casual counter-service dumpling-and-bao-haus Packed, set to open this month in Hyde Park at 1321 E. 57th, Sheerin draws from an arsenal of more than 50 different recipes. Dumplings and bao will rotate seasonally and include varieties like cheeseburger, posole, tamale, Peking duck, and gyro, along with a set of reimagined soup dumplings such as French onion, charred asparagus, and butternut squash and caramelized scallop. Sheerin hopes to expand the concept to multiple locations. “We’re using as close to organic as possible,” he says. “All local farms within 300 miles. Hormone- and antibiotic-free proteins, sustainable seafood.” The chef predicts serving some 15 steamed, fried, or griddled items every day. “We’re not necessarily wanting to be a burger chain,” he says, “but we do want to help change the fast-casual scene.”

1321 E. 57th, packeddumplings.com