Bon Bon Vietnamese Sandwiches

February 20th, 2012: As seen on Chicago Sun-Times (PDF)

Photo: Michell Eloy

Gourmet bánh mì hits the WP for under $4


Owners Jenny and Tim Holloway aren’t Vietnamese. Jenny’s Korean, and her husband is half Japanese. Nor do they have any culinary expertise, outside of their business partnership with the organic meal prep kitchen their new shop shares its space with (My Gourmet Kitchen). But they both fell in love with bánh mì, the French-Vietnamese hybrid sammy (Jenny while traversing roadside Asia, Tim while traversing fast-food Cali) and felt it necessary to deliver its notoriously cheap price tag to ‘hoods of Chicago other than the far North Side.

The menu, like the sandwich, is simple. It’s basically a five-pronged, $3.95-apiece tour through its most storied flavors, like the classic ham and pate, and a hoisin, honey and garlic sauced char siu pork, to the more Westernized options like the lime-drizzled, roasted portobello, all dressed with the requisite pickled tang combo of daikon, carrots, cucumbers, cilantro and mayo, bundled together with the most important ingredient of all, a slightly toasted baguette.

Providing the couple keeps the integrity of their ingredients top notch, the formula’s golden on their personalities alone. Ask them to expound upon the back-story of their Japanime-cute logo, and the pig-tailed girl’s seventh-degree black belt in banh mi sandwich slinging. Though if the space politics go as planned – My Gourmet Kitchen is expected to shut down – they do hope to expand into a full cafe, shining a bit more light on their Vietnamese coffee options ($2), Asian confectionaries and wall of ramen goods.

Average cost: <$10