Bright Bánh Mì Spot Sarom’s Café Opens in Winooski | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Bright Bánh Mì Spot Sarom’s Café Opens in Winooski

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Bánh mì at Sarom's Café - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Bánh mì at Sarom's Café

A mother-daughter duo is bringing a bright new bánh mì spot to Winooski.

Tuyet "Snow" Dinh and Mariana LyThach opened Sarom's Café on March 25 at 10 Manseau Street. The airy, colorful café in the new Parc Terrace building serves a variety of the traditional Vietnamese sandwiches, as well as spring rolls, rice and noodle dishes. Housemade coconut buns, other sweet treats, phin-dripped Vietnamese coffee, tea and drinks such as freshly made lime soda are also available.

"We wanted to do café-style street food," LyThach said. "Most people eat bánh mì in the morning before going to work, so we wanted to pull that culture in."

Sarom's Café is open Friday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. LyThach, 26, described the daytime hours — and the relaxed pace of a counter-service café — as a way of helping Dinh, 59, slow down after decades of working in busy restaurants. Both were longtime employees of Winooski's Tiny Thai Restaurant before starting Sarom's.

"My mom's been doing this since before I was even born," LyThach said. "She and her mom sold pho from a street cart in Vietnam. She's getting older, and I decided to open this for her."

"We want something small and easy," Dinh added.

LyThach decorated the space with pops of magenta and vibrant art to reflect that the business is women-owned. She called it "a gathering space for the community."

Tuyet Dinh (left) and Mariana LyThach of Sarom's Café - JORDAN BARRY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Jordan Barry ©️ Seven Days
  • Tuyet Dinh (left) and Mariana LyThach of Sarom's Café

The café is named for LyThach's late father, who came with Dinh to Vermont in the early 1990s; both were refugees. His namesake bánh mì, Sarom's Egg Sandwich, combines fried eggs with homemade mayo, soy sauce and sriracha, topped with pickled carrots and green papaya, cucumber, cilantro, and hot peppers. Other bánh mì offerings include seasoned tofu, grilled beef, grilled chicken and a vegetarian version of classic Vietnamese cold cuts.

"We made the vegetarian cold cuts instead of pork because I'm Muslim," LyThach said. "It's our take on the traditional bánh mì."

Also a vegetarian for many years, Dinh is taking a break to develop the café's recipes.

"She knows the flavor and taste," LyThach said.

"It's OK," Dinh said with a smile. "I need to help her. She helped me, and we work proudly together."