Photo by Lexi Coon.
The Colonnade has recently welcomed a new Vietnamese restaurant, The Easts.
“My purpose is to bring the best of the best,” said Van Hiep Le, owner of The Easts, a new restaurant at The Colonnade.
The Easts, which opened in late March, is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant with many influences, including that of Le’s home country, Vietnam, Le said.
Le moved here in 1991 when he was 20 and brought with him his passion for food. He has since been back to Vietnam and eaten at restaurants owned by family and friends and wanted to bring the food to Birmingham.
“That’s where I get most of my ideas how to create the dishes and how the food is supposed to be done,” he said.
Le said he’s also taken inspiration from Japanese cuisine and restaurants in major cities along the east coast where he’s eaten — hence the name, The Easts.
Before opening his restaurant, Le also worked in various high-end restaurants, where he said he learned how to manage the business and treat customers well. Now, with The Easts, he wants customers to experience his Vietnamese food along U.S. 280.
“I think this [U.S. 280] is almost like the center of food … Around Birmingham, where, even though it’s not a big city, they have a lot of good restaurants,” he said. “I just did not see the food that I like, and I think I can bring something different.”
Le said he plans to have his menu cater to those who are looking for a quick and tasty lunch or take-out, as well as those who want a nice sit-down dinner.
“[I want] to bring a new experience to the customer,” he said. “I want you to have a special impression … It [the dishes] can be as real as it gets.”
Featuring rice dishes and noodle dishes, The Easts also will offer Vietnamese sandwiches called banh mi and the Vietnamese noodle-soup dish, pho.
“We’re going to take care of the broth overnight, cook it at least 10 hours,” he said of the pho dishes, adding that he plans to use a “special type of beef.”
The healthy eating Le wants to instill in his business also will extend to his drink selection, which will offer fresh smoothies and detox water, alongside standard fountain drinks and iced espresso.
Chicken tenders and potato wedges will be available for children, too.
“We don’t have a lot on my menu like a lot of other Vietnamese restaurants,” he said. “When it comes to food, and myself, I’m a very picky eater, and I’m going to treat people like the way I want to eat.”
The Easts is at 3431 Colonnade Parkway and is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; and 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit theeastscafe.com or call 967-3888.