For first-time restaurant owner Trang Nguyen, it wasn’t supposed to take more than a year after buying her new space on Capitol Hill to open Mai’s Kitchen.
But the COVID-19 crisis did its best to sabotage the new project after she and co-owner Doanh Dang bought the Semillon French bakery at 11th and Union last summer.
Finally this weekend, Mai’s is ready for business with plans for a soft opening Friday before the new restaurateurs dig in for a new life behind the counter in a neighborhood they hope to grow from.
“On Capitol Hill, everyone is young and open to new ideas,” Nguyen said. “We have the freedom to express ourselves.”
Nguyen says the hope is to grow Mai’s into multiple locations but she hopes people will “taste the home feel” of food they’ve put their hearts and souls — and some of the best available fresh local produce — into.
But first they must navigate the challenging times of restricted capacity and sit-down service for restaurants as takeout and delivery has become hugely important to any food and drink business’s survival.
The duo come into the restaurant industry with experience in the family Vietnamese grocery business and will bring their knowledge and connections into the new restaurant. The menu includes Vietnamese standards — pho, rice plates or vermicelli bowls, and banh mi. Small plates with rolls, wings, salads, and fried buns will also be available. The bakery setup will also keep the baked goods coming with cookies and waffles while snow ices also add to the sweet options.
The Mai’s space has been home to a French bakery since the new construction building it calls home debuted in 2014. It has been a summer of change for the Viva Capitol Hill building — on its east side, Capitol Hill tattoo studio Laughing Buddha moved in earlier this summer.
You can find Mai’s at 1150 11th Ave and can order online for pickup or delivery here.
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