Jon and Mary Nguyen launched Bibo’s Bistro & Bar in May 2018 as an upscale version of Bibo’s Cafe, a Vietnamese eatery 8 miles west of the bistro they opened seven years earlier. So far, the bistro is the only restaurant in Redemption Square in the Generation Park community located on West Lake Houston Parkway.
Bibo’s Bistro & Bar serves Vietnamese-American fusion food, including pho and Vietnamese-inspired sandwiches like the Bistro Po’boy—made with crispy shrimp, fresh and pickled vegetables, cilantro, jalapenos and pâte, which is a French delicacy meat—as well as weekend brunch offering items such as the Korean barbecue omelet and bottomless mimosas. The bistro also boasts 30 flavors of smoothies, which can be made with tapioca balls or freshly brewed jasmine tea, as well as local craft beers rotating regularly on tap, Mary Nguyen said.
“We are a very hands-on family that likes to meet our customers and listen to how we can improve on service and menu,” Nguyen said. “Some customers eat at our restaurant weekly or even daily.”
Before the Nguyens moved to Houston from Iowa in 2011, the duo had steady 9-to-5 corporate jobs, but they knew they needed a fresh start, Nguyen said. So they took a chance, moved to Houston with their young children and opened Bibo’s Cafe.
“We didn’t have a backup plan,” she said. “We had no culinary or waitressing background, yet failure was not an option. We worked very hard, and it definitely has paid off.”
These days, the entire family is in the restaurant business: the Mama Hong’s Egg Rolls featured on the menu were created by Nguyen’s mother, while the bistro is named after the couple’s daughter.
“Our family and our church were all in Iowa,” Nguyen said. “It’s so amazing how God has opened up this journey for us, and now all of our family … has moved to Texas. … This was not an easy journey. Every day was live and learn, but we said, ‘You don’t know until you try.’”
Bibo’s Bistro & Bar
250 Assay St., Houston
Hours*: Mon.-Thur. 11 a.m.- 9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
*subject to change in the future