Seven years into a career as a process and quality engineer at Samsung, Tru Tran quit his job. He spent the next three months baking bread.

“It took me several months before I perfected the recipe,” Tran said. “I had never made bread before, but I was able to come up with a recipe I’m really proud of.”

His bread recipe is now baked daily at Moi Vietnamese Grill in Pflugerville and used as a base for banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich.

Tran, the owner and cook at Moi, opened the restaurant alongside two other partners in June 2018. He describes the menu as Vietnamese fast-casual with an emphasis on grilled proteins.

Customers first choose a base: banh mi, vermicelli noodles, zucchini noodles or jasmine rice. Grilled protein choices include chicken, beef, pork, shrimp and tofu. Fresh vegetables and other toppings are then added in addition to the customer’s choice of sauces. Popular add-ons include a fried egg, an egg roll or a spring roll, Tran said.

“We prepare and make everything in-house,” Tran said. “The bread, the sauces, the marinades—these are our own recipes that we created.”

Pronounced “muh-ee,” the English translation of the word moi means to invite, Tran said.

“As a cook, I love to invite anybody to come and try our food,” he said. “The word itself, I use it very often whenever I’m cooking for my friends, family or catering. Moi is a warm, welcoming invite to try the food.”

Tran said he has been involved in not only managing and cooking at the Pflugerville restaurant, but that he also chipped in with the construction of the space. He said he built the wood tables, benches and countertops in use throughout the restaurant.

“I’m very proud to say that I’ve been hands-on here from the start,” Tran said. “I tried to design the entire experience to be welcoming.”

In August, Tran and his partners opened a second location of Moi Vietnamese in Katy. He said he hopes to continue to scale the concept and plans to open additional locations over the coming years.

“Starting out, I asked other local restaurant owners for advice,” Tran said. “They told me to make good food, and people will come. That’s what I try to do.”

Moi Vietnamese Grill
16051 Dessau Road, Pflugerville
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., closed Sun.

How it works

Moi Vietnamese Grill serves customizable bowls and sandwiches with a variety of choices. Here is how to build a meal at Moi.

Step 1
Select a base

  • banh mi sandwich bread

  • jasmine rice

  • vermicelli noodles

  • zucchini noodles

Step 2
Choose a protein

  • beef

  • chicken

  • pork

  • shrimp

  • tofu

Step 3
Add toppings*

  • carrots

  • cilantro

  • cucumber

  • herb salad

  • jalapeno

  • peanuts

  • sesame seeds

  • shredded pork

Step 4
Top it off with sauce*

  • cilantro mayo

  • peanut sauce

  • spicy sate

  • spicy soy sauce

  • wasabi mayo

*This list is not comprehensive.