Cassie Kang moved to Denton to be closer to the food truck scene—at the time, she and her husband John owned The Famous Dumpling Bros—and came to love the diversity of her adoptive city.
A lot has changed for the family in the midst of the pandemic: Kang took over LM Organics, a local (and beloved) self-care brand; John made a major career change of his own. Now they’re both savoring the chance to spend more time with their kids and each other.
You just took over LM Organics a couple of months ago. What has that transition been like? It’s been great overall. LM Organics has a very big reputation in Denton, so there’s a little bit of pressure there, just convincing people that I love LM Organics too, and I want to keep everything the same as possible. Denise [the previous owner] worked so hard for so long, and my goal was to take it to the next level.
So I have this expectation that I want to exceed, but also keep the current customers secure in our quality and ingredients. It’s some pressure, but I love it—I thrive off of that stuff.
Do you still own the food truck company? No, we actually sold Dumpling Bros, and my husband really is coming alongside me with LM Organics. And we have a really good friend who has a carpet cleaning company, and so we partnered with him and started a commercial cleaning business. We just pivoted our whole source of income, and it’s been going really great.
The food truck industry is so hard on families and marriages. We were at a kind of cross roads and we had to decide: Do we want our business to thrive, or do we want our family to thrive? In that moment, we just chose our family.
How have these new ventures changed your family life? We both basically work from home, so our kids get to have both of us here. My kids have an obsession with their dad—they could care less if I’m home—because most of their life, we had the food truck, and so it was rare Dad was home. It’s really good for me to feel like I have an everyday partner in life now, like in the diaper changes, the potty training, the dinners, the baths. It’s been the best thing. We’ve been able to go to counseling and work on our marriage and go do date nights. It’s been a huge blessing for our family.
Taking over a new business in the middle of COVID seems like a bad idea, but it sounds like for you it was the opposite. Yeah, which is so weird! I was like, “We’re crazy! We have no idea what the future’s going to hold—what are we doing?” But I just could not get LM Organics out of my mind. The moment Denise announced that she wanted to sell it and move on from it, I was just like, I cannot imagine it not existing, because I use the products myself. It’s so hard to find a product that is truly good for you, that’s truly pure, truly organic.
So I talked to my friend in Seattle who has a similar business, and she goes, “You just need to do it. I will help you.” Because I can run the business; I can scale the business; I was just like, “I don’t know if I can do this and maintain the integrity.” But my friend was like, “Do you make dinners? You can do this chemistry. It’s just natural herbs, spices and oils that you’re mixing together. You can do it.”
Then [Denise and I] agreed and made it happen. It was totally meant to be.
Now that you have more family time, where is your favorite place to eat out (or in) together? Villa Grande is one of my absolute favorite restaurants. We originally started going to the restaurant in Cross Roads when we lived in Little Elm, and then when we moved to Denton, they had a location at Rayzor Ranch—I’m so lucky. The brisket nachos are my favorite.
What are your favorite date night spots? We’re big movie people; we like horror films. We love Movie Tavern, but it really depends on where we can catch a show.
Where do you go with the kids? We take them to Explorium, the children’s museum. I love that place because all my kids can have fun there. It’s not just [for] one age group—they all can find something there they love.
Any parks you frequent? They just opened the Vela Soccer Complex right off of Elm, next to the McNatt pet shelter. They have soccer fields, and they have this beautiful playground and equipment. They even have a cool, modern merry-go-round, which my kids love. We really like that park.
Is there a hidden gem you love for “you” time? There’s the Habitat for Humanity resale store on University. It’s in the back of an Avis rental car store, so from the street you don’t really see it, but oh my gosh—they salvage things from homes that are being renovated, and so they have these most gorgeous chandeliers, these antique doors and windows. I found several farmhouse sinks in there one time for crazy good prices.
What about new places you’re looking forward to exploring? My friend bought this house on Locust Street, and they’re turning it into a B&B, but their focus is really going to be renting it out to bridal parties for weddings. She’s very intentional with everything going in there to be Pinterest picture-worthy. It would be such a good place to host some of my spa nights with LM Organics, or intimate dinner parties with friends, or it would be a local place to get away to. So I’m really excited for that to open up. It’s called The Brownlow House.
Anywhere else you like to go locally? The Embassy Suites—we love to do staycations there because they have a really awesome splash pad and pool, and sometimes they offer movie nights at the pool, and they have this little croquet green space back there. And then they offer in-suite dining, and the restaurant, so that’s a really nice little staycation place for us too. My mom will come over and take the kids, and my husband I will go there for a weekend by ourselves, or we’ll take the kids and make sure we spend time down at the pool—it’s really fun.
How do you and your family give back to the community? We volunteer through our church community a lot. And we feed the homeless during wintertime. There’s a homeless shelter right off McKinney; it’s called Monsignor King. You can usually see the Denton homeless community kind of making their way there around eveningtime when they open. So in the wintertime, we always try to drive around that area and give out gloves and hats and coats—nothing sponsored or anything like that. We know it’s our duty to take care of people, and so we try to do that every year.
Villa Grande // 2530 W. University Drive, Suite 1140, Denton (more DFW locations)
Movie Tavern // 916 W. University Drive, Denton (more DFW locations)
Explorium // 5800 Interstate 35, Suite 214, Denton
Roland Vela Soccer Complex // 3801 N. Elm St., Denton
Habitat for Humanity ReStore // 1805 Cornell Lane, Denton (more DFW locations
The Brownlow House // 815 N. Locust St., Denton
Embassy Suites Denton Convention Center // 3100 Town Center Trail, Denton
Lives in Denton’s University Park neighborhood
Hails from Flower Mound
Occupation Owner of LM Organics
Significant other Husband John, co-owner of CleanerGenics
Offspring Tiajah, 14, Elijah “Eli,” 8, Mayah, 5, Lincoln, 3
Alma maters Marcus High School and the Art Institute of Dallas for interior design. “I sketch floorplans for friends who may be remodeling and can’t really see the scope of what they want. If I can just remodel and flip homes till my last days, I would love to do that.”
Photo courtesy of Carter Rose.