Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Aregoni & Theresa Nguyen.
Saigon Sisters Restaurant, located in the heart of West Loop’s bustling restaurant scene, is run by Vietnamese sisters, Mary Nguyen Aregoni and Theresa Nguyen, along with their mother, Mama Suu. The main inspiration for beginning their business came from growing up watching their mother and grandmother successfully run businesses as food distributors to markets & embassies in Laos and eating amazing Southeast Asian and French foods at an early age. After moving to the United States, their entrepreneurial spirit led them to work together and they came up with the brand Saigon Sisters.
It all started at the Chicago French Market in 2009 where you can still find Mama Suu standing by her Pho station helping and serving Banh Mis, spring rolls, Pho and Baos to customers and commuters.
Their delicious food became so popular with the lunch crowd that they decided to open a restaurant close by offering dinner as well as lunch. The dinner menu combines traditional home cooked Vietnamese food with some innovative touches from Executive Chef Kevin Marquardt with an excellent selection of cocktails, wine, beer, and sake served by an experienced staff.
They opened their third location at Northwestern Memorial Hospital near the Magnificent Mile, where you can have the same consistent and quality food as their other two locations. Everything is made from scratch fresh daily with premium ingredients while staying true to the bold and tasty flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.
Last year, they launched a new brand Bang Chop Thai serving authentic Thai food very close to the first two Saigon Sisters location. Thai cuisine shared the same ingredients as Vietnamese food and is also part of their history since they grew up in Thailand and remembering eating all the delicious food in open markets and street stalls. Missing those flavors, they are bringing Southeast Asian cuisine to the downtown Chicago market.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The first year was tough because we are still learning and do not know all the unexpected costs to run a restaurant such as repairs, property taxes, high turnover, and rising food and labor costs. We were fortunate that all our locations were small enough with manageable occupancy cost so that can achieve break even sales. When we expanded, we quickly learned that consistency and quality need to be maintained so creating standard procedures took a while to achieve.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Saigon Sisters and Bang Chop Thai – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We specialize in Southeast Asian cuisine where we want to be the best in class on menu offerings, authentic taste, excellent service and great value. We are proud that we can deliver consistent quality and taste in all three locations and are able to operate successfully in different formats from a market stall, brick and mortar space and institutions like a hospital. We prove that our concept is portable and versatile to meet different market venues and sizes. We are expanding by scaling our Saigon Sisters Vietnamese concept to more high traffic locations with a big lunch crowd, airports and hospitals. We got our start in Chicago and know that it can be replicated easily nationally and internationally with the right location and funding. We strongly feel that our unique menu offerings, affordable pricing, great ambiance, and professional service are what is required to be successful and sustainable in the rapid growth fast-casual segment of the restaurant industry.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Opening in new food halls, airports, and hospitals as retail tenant or via licensing. New territories outside of Chicago and international. We are test marketing our new Bang Chop Thai concept and would follow a similar path as Saigon Sisters branding.
- $7 to $12 for lunch
- $7 to $28 for dinner
- Address: 567 W. Lake St. Chicago, IL 60661
- Website: www.saigonsisters.com www.bangchopthai.com
- Phone: 773-383-8828
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @saigonsisters @bangchopthai
- Facebook: @Saigonsisters
- Twitter: @saigonsisters
- Yelp: Saigon Sisters