Young entrepreneur brings new form of cuisine to Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Young entrepreneur brings new form of cuisine to Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There are hundreds of sandwich shops in the area, but what they dish out at one of the newest is something Louisvillians haven't tasted before.

Those who see a younger guy making a sandwich might not see anything out of the ordinary, but Lee Tran has been doing more than just stuffing bread at age 21.

"I feel older, when  I turned 20, I felt like I was 30 when I opened the restaurant," said Train, who brought the first Vietnamese Sandwich eatery to Louisville just months ago.  The restaurant is called "Banh Mi Hero."

Tran said "Banh Mi" means "sandwich" in Vietnamese.  The Atherton High School graduate spent a year at the University of Louisville majoring in finance and a year majoring in marketing at Sullivan.  He said he realized the training he needed to achieve his dream was something he learned outside the classroom.

"I grew up in a Vietnamese restaurant, my mom own's Annie's Cafe in the South End," said Tran.

"It's been around for about eleven years now, so that really inspired me to open my own restaurant."


After doing some culinary research in bigger cities, he decided to bring something new to the table.

"When I was looking to branch out and open my own place, I was looking towards the West Coast where Vietnamese food is really a lot more popular and the Vietnamese sandwich concept is exploding over there," said Tran.

The 21-year-old said he learned all of his recipes from his mother, but decided to add a twist.

"I changed it up to make it my own," said Tran.

He said he made sure not to compete with the family business.

"She serves like traditional food, binh and pho and vermicelli noodles, but I thought there was enough of that in Louisville and I thought we need something different in Vietnamese, so I decided to come up with the Vietnamese sandwich concept."

The sandwich and taco shop has been open since December, but the buzz for the place was brewing before then.  Tran said many chefs and others in Louisville had come to Annie's Cafe and he mentioned it to them before he opened.  He said he hopes to expand and even add some more to the menu in the future.

"It's a lot of work, but I get to do what I like, so I really enjoy it," said Tran.

Tran said he hoped to get a license to sell alcohol so he would be able to sell VIetnamese beer, a common drink to go along with the banh mi.

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