The Banh Mi Shop recently opened at 567 Melville Ave., located on a quiet tributary off Delmar Boulevard in the heart of The Loop.
Owner Jimmy Trinh said the slow, hushed opening was by design. Now in mid-March, the restaurant is far from quiet: Late ’90s and early ’00s hip-hop from DMX, Dr. Dre and Juvenile flows from the speakers. At past jobs, he wasn’t able to play his own tunes. “This is my restaurant,” Trinh said, laughing. “I can listen to whatever I want.”
During his 10 years as a sushi chef and then as general manager at the now-closed Tani Sushi Bistro in Clayton, Trinh long dreamed of opening his own place. In late 2019, he decided it was the right time, and The Loop was the right place.
As the restaurant’s name suggests, banh mi are the game here. Customers can choose from eight sandwiches, which include the Saigon Classic, lemongrass tofu, barbecue pork, curry chicken and grilled pork or beef. All sandwiches come with pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber and house aioli, and are served on a toasted baguette that Trinh developed with Vitale’s Bakery on The Hill.
Other options include spring rolls with shrimp, grilled beef or lemongrass tofu. Noodle bowls can be ordered with grilled beef, lemongrass chicken, grilled pork or lemongrass tofu.
Trinh decided not to serve liquor, as he wants the shop to be a quick and easy option for people walking The Loop, especially college students on the run. Available drinks are Vietnamese iced coffee, lychee lemonade, soda and water.
The Banh Mi shop will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Take a First Look at The Loop’s newest spot for banh mi.
Adam Rothbarth is the staff writer at Sauce Magazine.
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