After his work place moved from Katy to Cy-Fair in 2015, Vinh Tse said he noticed no authentic banh mi restaurants were quite to his liking. So, he decided to start his own business.
Specializing in the Vietnamese sandwich from which the restaurant gets its name, Banh Mi CT was initially launched in San Marcos in 2010 before the Houston location opened on Huffmeister Road in June.
Banh mi is made with French bread and topped with meat—typically pork, beef or chicken—jalapeno, carrots and Vietnamese mayonnaise. While banh mi is considered the specialty, the restaurant also offers egg rolls, boba tea and fried rice.
Tse said Banh Mi CT focuses on natural ingredients and preparation. The meat for the banh mi is fresh, boba drinks do not contain powdered ingredients, and each juice is made with just two ingredients, he said.
“We have a local bakery that makes the bread for us,” Tse said. “Everything here is made to order.”
During Hurricane Harvey, Tse delivered food to first responders in the area for free while the store was closed because of the storm. He said the idea came to him while watching the news.
“I just sat there and thought, ‘How can I help?’” he said. “I don’t have a boat; I don’t have a big truck, but I have a restaurant.”
Tse and several employees who volunteered drove around the Cy-Fair area delivering food they prepared that day to police stations and fire departments participating in rescue efforts.
“We did it not to advertise for the business, but to encourage more people and more businesses to help out,” he said. “None of our food boxes had any of our logos or information on it, because that would ruin the purpose of doing charity work.”
In the future, Tse said he plans to add more items to the menu, including pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup dish he said pairs well with banh mi.
Tse said he works at Banh Mi CT in his off time on weekends and after his day job with Siemens AG during the week. He said he is motivated by his daughter Cat Tse, whose initials are in the restaurant’s name and whom he said is the true boss.
“I have a very tough boss,” Tse said.
Banh Mi CT
9522 Huffmeister Road, Ste. 125, Houston
Hours: Mon.-Sat.: 8:30 a.m.- 9 p.m., Sun. 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.