PHOTO BY SARAH FENSKE
Thao Truong has been giving her restaurant's new home a bright and cheerful new paint job.
A Vietnamese restaurant is coming to the eastern edge of the Delmar Loop.
will fill the that space at 6100 Delmar that previously held Cabana on the Loop
, a breakfast-and-lunch spot that opened in the fall of 2014 and closed less than a year later. Thao Truong, who is opening the Vietnamese restaurant with husband Yun Vu, says she is just waiting on her occupancy permit and anticipates opening in October.
Truong and her family moved to St. Louis eight years ago, when she was just eighteen years old. She didn't speak a word of English, and laughs as she describes making chicken clucks while trying to communicate her McNugget order at McDonald's. But she quickly mastered the language, earning a bachelor's degree from Maryville University, where she studied science. She's now close to finishing her MBA, also at Maryville.
The restaurant comes from the couple's dream of opening their own business — but also reflects shrewd placement. "We were hanging around in the Loop, and we saw you had four Thai restaurants and Mexican restaurants and a lot of different culture, but no Vietnamese," she says. "We saw one spot that was empty, and we though it was time to bring Vietnamese food to everyone."
Truong plans to serve her signature smoothies at the large bar in the front the space, but the rest of the dining area will be classic sit-down dining, with service for both lunch and dinner. She plans to offer a full roster of authentic Vietnamese dishes, including some dishes not currently available at any other St. Louis Vietnamese restaurants.
She hopes the restaurant will be a way to give back to the country that adopted her.
"When I moved here, I had teachers who helped me more than they had to," she says. "They teach me about human kindness. Now my mission statement for the restaurant is that my husband and I want to do something that not just brings us a profit, but that makes people smile. I say it from the bottom of my heart."
She adds, "All of America is so nice, and I really appreciate that."
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COURTESY OF THAO TRUONG
Yun Vu (left) will do the cooking; Thao Truong will run the front of the house and the smoothie bar.