Jimmy Phan’s family had long operated Vietnamese restaurants in the Wichita area. His brother later went out on his own, opening a Lee’s Summit restaurant before moving on to the construction industry.
Phan, who came to the U.S. as a 5-year-old in 1980, also took a detour from the family business, going into heating and cooling for a decade. Then he met his girlfriend, Kaylee Nguyen, who had emigrated from Vietnam in 1995. Her marinated meats inspired him to open a restaurant of their own, using his family’s recipes.
Bun Mee Phan opened Feb. 27 and had a grand opening March 9 at 4244 N. Oak Trafficway.
“It is a Vietnamese deli serving the sandwiches that I grew up on and loved,” Phan said.
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The “fusion Vietnamese” menu includes a variety of Banh Mi sandwiches — grilled pork, grilled beef, Chinese barbecue pork, caramelized pork belly, lemongrass chicken, crispy tofu, and fried egg and Chinese sausage — that also can be ordered as tacos. Other menu items include rice or noodle bowls, spring rolls, quail, pandan waffles and boba tea.
“When I make a meal at home for my family I make the meals with love and I want to extend that to the community,” Nguyen said.
Hours are currently 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
New tenant for former Tivol building
Tivol opened a 6,000-square-foot store in The Village at Briarcliff in fall 2006. But at the end of 2012 it shut down the location, saying it hadn’t met sales expectations and foot traffic wasn’t as high as it hoped. But it still had nine years left on its lease.
Now Tivol said it came to an agreement with the landlord and formally exited its lease there a few months ago.
Liberty-based Heritage Event Spaces is taking over the space at 4131 N. Mulberry Drive. It also has Armour Loft in North Kansas City, Brookside Gardens in the east Brookside area, Heritage Hall in downtown Liberty, and the Monarch Room in the Crossroads Arts District.
Joe Dugdale, owner of Heritage Event Spaces with his wife, Ann, said it will take about three months to convert the former Tivol store to an event space, including taking down walls to make it an open floor plan and adding more bathrooms. He is currently booking the space for events starting this fall and working on a name.
“Briarcliff is one of those areas that represent quality. A good location, close to downtown but still considered the Northland and close to the airport,” Joe Dugdale said.