Downtown Spartanburg will welcome its first Vietnamese restaurant later this month.
Tony Nguyen and his wife, Thang Bui, will open Lemongrass Kitchen in a restaurant space at 121 Dunbar St., currently home to Café Around the Corner’s dining room.
Leslie Lattanzio, owner of Café Around the Corner, said she will keep operations in the kitchen at 119 Dunbar St. and will expand her catering concept and weekly meal service. She will also go mobile with a food trailer.
Nguyen said Thursday he hopes to open Lemongrass Kitchen on Oct. 28.
“We are very excited,” he said. “We moved here from California in August. We love it here. The people are very kind and very friendly. We can’t wait.”
Nguyen, who used to run a kitchen at a restaurant in Chinatown in Los Angeles, said he will serve as the head chef and his wife will serve as the owner. He said the eatery will cater to families and other downtown patrons.
The couple plans to have authentic Vietnamese dishes on the menu, including pho and bun. Lemongrass Kitchen will also have Vietnamese coffee and tea.
Nguyen said the restaurant will operate Monday through Saturday. He is still finalizing a few details, but he anticipates being open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast, and until 2:30 p.m. for lunch. The restaurant will reopen at 5 p.m. for dinner until 10 p.m. He said the hours could be extended depending on customer demand.
“We’re excited to be bringing in an all-new type of restaurant that we don’t have in downtown,” said Andrew Babb, who owns the restaurant spaces adjacent to the historic Palmetto Building across from Morgan Square. “I wish Leslie all the best as she shifts gears. I think it’s going to be great.”
Nguyen and Bui were born in Vietnam, but met in California.
Nguyen said he moved to Orange County in 1982. Bui moved there in 2003. The couple has four children.