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Side Dishes: Vietnamese café to open in Winooski


Published January 19, 2011 at 7:50 a.m.

More Vietnamese cuisine in Greater Burlington? You bet. On Saturday, the Winooski Malletts Bay Avenue storefront that formerly housed Vermont Asian Market will get new life from a 27-year-old Vietnamese immigrant, Canh Chau. He’s hosting the grand opening of his Vietnamese-style coffee shop, Night Life Café.

The spot will serve ca phe — individually dripped dark-roast coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk — and other Vietnamese coffee drinks. Though Chau emphasizes that Night Life will be “a place where people can hang out and have a little fun,” rather than a restaurant, his pride in his homemade Vietnamese dishes is evident.

Chau plans to serve small plates meant to be enjoyed over a game at the pool table, rather than full meals, he says. Those will include egg rolls, chicken wings and banh mi — the real deal, says Chau, who views many of the baguette sandwiches available in the area as Americanized versions.

Customers may find themselves eating to an urban beat: A trained recording engineer, Chau has set up a studio in Night Life. He says that he specializes in hip-hop, but admits, “I’m no rap star or anything.” Who knows — maybe the next top-40 discovery will be made between bites of banh mi.