Local, family-owned restaurant brings authentic Vietnamese dining experience to Newnan
By Jill Whitley | email@example.com
Local restaurant owners Peter and Annie Hong don’t just want to introduce Cowetans to authentic Vietnamese food- they want to turn local diners into chefs.
After the success of their Peachtree City location, which opened in September of 2015, the Hong family chose Newnan as their second, larger location because their customer base repeatedly asked them to bring the food closer to them.
Hong said now is the perfect time to expand, as Vietnamese food has recently become trendy due to the popularity of Pho.
“Pho is a noodle soup made of oxtail and beef-bone or vegetable broth,” Hong says. “From there, we add different kinds of aromatic herbs, and serve it with bean sprouts, basil, lime, and jalapeno. You can then choose your toppings— flank steak, beef-meatball, tendon, tripe, brisket, oxtail, seafood, chicken, or vegetables. It’s very customizable depending on what you like or what your dietary needs require. “
Hong emphasizes that Pho isn’t the only allergy-friendly, customizable dish on the restaurant’s menu: “Vietnam’s biggest export is rice, and obviously, that makes it a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. This makes the majority of our menu items perfect for people who have a gluten sensitivity or allergy.”
If you are new to Vietnamese food and sensitive to gluten, Hong says his staff is more than happy to make recommendations depending on your tastes, but also heartily recommends the spring rolls as a fun way to experiment with Vietnamese cuisine: “A first timer would definitely enjoy it— and the wrap is made from rice paper.”
No matter what you order, Viet’s Cuisine stresses that their food can be heavily customized without changing the restaurant’s signature taste. “We make everything from scratch. Our menu is fantastic for people with food allergies, vegetarians, and anyone who has dietary restrictions of any kind. We don’t use MSG, and can customize every single dish, because we have a fully-staffed kitchen. Every order is made fast, fresh, and to the individual customer’s specifications.”
For those looking for something a little more indulgent, Hong recommends another menu item that is trending both in the family’s restaurants and across the U.S.: its flavorful, drip-brewed coffee. Vietnam is famous for its French-brew inspired coffee. Each cup is brewed individually, sweetened with condensed milk, and can be served hot, or over ice.
“It’s very strong and very sweet. It will definitely keep you buzzing all day,” Hong says.
Located on 30 Bullsboro Drive, in the old Mega Mattress Building, Viet’s Cuisine’s space has been completely transformed. Buildout was a challenge, Hong said, noting that, among other things, the family had to completely redesign the parking lot.
“In Peachtree City, we started in a pre-existing restaurant space,” said Hong, “but being able to remodel this large building to our specifications gave us room to grow- and based on just the first few days of business, I think we’re going to need to expand.”
Peter and Annie have been happily surprised by the success of both locations. “We expected the first few weeks here in Newnan to be slow, or that this new location would draw customers away from Peachtree City, but that hasn’t been the case. Word of mouth took over once the sign went up, and we have been busy since the doors opened.”
Peter goes on to explain, “We expected to struggle. We didn’t get into the restaurant business until we were older- most people start young, but not us. Annie just loves to cook- it’s always been her passion. We moved to the area from California because of my job in the technology field, and we made friends here over food. After a few years, Annie’s friends begged her to start a restaurant. I encouraged it, but we never dreamed it would be so successful.”
“We’ve been so busy that she finally asked me to quit my job to help run the place, and here we are.”
Annie’s cooking isn’t just famous here in Georgia. She grew up helping in her parents’ restaurant in Vietnam. The family even had their own cooking show, “but it’s been off the air for years,” Hong said. However, their family’s culinary signature is still very much a part of the new restaurant’s success.
“We make our fish sauce fresh daily- the recipe is from the Southern part of Vietnam. What’s fascinating about it is that you don’t notice it’s made from fish. It adds a savory flavor to your food without being fishy at all. ”
Every time a customer orders a rice-based dish, I always encourage them to try it with a bit of our sauce. It’s just not the same without it. It’s our signature. Without the sauce, you’re kind of getting a generic Veitnamese experience,” Hong explains.
While each meal is made to order, the couple insists that there is a common ingredient in each dish: attention to detail.
“We are striving for absolute consistency between both locations. Annie goes back and forth between the two restaurants to oversee everything. We are a locally based, family-run operation— except for our three kids, who are all in school. You’re going to find the same staff rotating between locations so that the food quality stays consistent.”
“We’re so grateful to Coweta County, and want to offer them the freshest, most authentic dining experience possible.” Hong said. “They’ve been supportive for years- from our first day in Peachtree City, through the long construction and renovation process, to showing up to our grand opening here in Newnan. We want them to know that we are doing the work for them, but by choosing their own ingredients, they are the real chefs here.”