On Friday Yum! Brands Inc. will debut the first of two Vietnamese-inspired fast-casual sandwich shops to be tested in the Dallas area, according to the company.
The opening of Banh Shop, which will serve Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, will be followed within a month by a second location at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal D.
Louisville, Ky.-based Yum has been testing a variety of new concepts this year. The parent to the quick-service Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC brands launched a new chicken sandwich concept in April called Super Chix in the Dallas suburb of Arlington. Its Taco Bell Corp. division debuted the fast-casual U.S. Taco Co. and Urban Taproom in August in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Executives said the time is right for an Asian sandwich shop.
“With Southeast Asian cuisine growing in popularity in the U.S., we saw an opportunity to design a unique fast-casual concept that emulates delicious Saigon street food, with a focus on the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich,” said Christophe Poirier, the Yum executive leading the Banh Shop project.
Mark H. Brezinski, a consultant on Banh Shop and more than 10 restaurant projects in Dallas’ Trinity Groves restaurant incubator, said in a statement: “Banh Shop is our way of expressing the abundance of bold flavors of Vietnam and parts of Southeast Asia with a tightly focused menu.”
Brezinski tapped independent restaurant owners Braden and Yasmin Wages, the creative forces behind Dallas’ Thai-Vietnamese restaurant Malai Kitchen, to help develop the Banh Shop menu.
“We’ve incorporated updated technology touches and a forward-thinking design scheme,” Brezinski said. “And most importantly, we all have the same vision for the food.”
Banh Shop is “conceived as an upscale Southeast Asian street stall market,” the company said in a statement, and includes sandwiches served on baguettes piled high with cilantro, Thai basil, pickled shredded carrot and daikon, ribbon-cut cucumber, aioli and a selection of proteins. Banh Shop also features Southeast Asian salads, soups and wok-fired bowls.
Braden Wages said he and Yasmin were “irresistibly drawn to this cuisine and are constantly amazed by the combinations of bold, complex flavors and aromas these foods generate.”
Signature items include banh mi sandwiches based on several proteins, including grilled steak, grilled pork meatballs and coconut chicken breast. The Banh Shop menu also includes a “Banh Fire” Wok’d Bowl with a choice of protein served with a stir-fry of carrots, bean sprouts, red onion, scallion and cilantro tossed in a spicy tamarind sauce and topped with peanuts, jalapeno pesto and sour cream, served over white rice.
The menu also offers a traditional Vietnamese vermicelli rice noodle salad, or “bun,” and a Saigon Stall Corn cup served warm with sweet corn kernels, Saigon sauce (coconut milk, butter, nuoc mam), red pepper, scallions and crumbled white cheese.
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