Viet Café will reopen in November

UPDATE: Chef and owner Lan Cao added to comments saying she will reopen in November. I had emailed and called several times, but since the boxes were piled up, the space is for sale and I knew two restaurant owners who had considered the space, I thought she had closed for good. This turns out to be much better news.  I haven’t wanted to come face to face with this fact, but it seems like the closure of Viet Café, or V Café, is permanent and for me, very sad. That was our first regular spot in the neighborhood when we moved here and you could not beat the Vietnamese steak frites or the chicken pot for a hearty meal, if you ask me. I also just loved the casual, easy vibe and effortless décor — something we don’t see around these parts any more.

The restaurant was open for a time last June, but it must have been just too slow to be worth the effort. Chef and owner Lan Tran Cao opened a 65-seat pop-up restaurant at the Hampton Racquet Club in East Hampton not long after, and (no surprise) the East Hampton Star‘s review suggested that the pop-up should “stay up.” “Whoever it was at Hampton Racquet who thought to bring Viet Café of New York City out to do a pop-up V Café at their Center Court snack bar is a genius. The food is fresh, light, and inexpensive.”

Lan was a former chief technology officer of Deutsche Bank when she opened Gallery Viet Nam in the space attached to Viet Café first, and then the restaurant in 2003. She closed the gallery in 2012 and kept the restaurant. (It was most recently Outer Reach, the stretching studio.)

According to a feature in Dan’s Papers, Cao plays tennis in the winters in Southampton and became friendly with the owners of the raquet club, who invited her to convert the club’s snack bar used mostly just for kids to Vietnamese street food. When the pandemic hit and everything closed here, she wanted to keep her staff working so they started takeout there last July. It grew from there.

So Southampton’s gain is our loss.

The two retail condos in the building — 1A and 1B, both of which have a lower level — have been for sale for a while; G. forwarded the listing to me last November, which said the spaces would be delivered vacant and could be sold individually or together. I also know that a couple other restaurant owners in the neighborhood were considering the space but in the end chose others that were less complicated.




  1. What A Loss For The Neighborhood . I never had a bad meal there.

  2. Saw the door open yesterday afternoon and wandered over to see if they were hopefully starting the process of re-opening but realized it was a locksmith changing the locks.

  3. noooooo!!!!
    that has been one of my go-to’s since it opened! I have friends from Malaysia who when they are in town have Vietcafe on their list – it’s that good! best of luck to Lan..x

  4. So sad. And nowhere will I be able to find those vegetarian crab cakes, they were so delicious . Well unless I go to East Hampton .
    Big loss to TriBeCa

  5. So sad–never a bad meal there. There are a lot of really nice restaurants in the hood that serve very good food. But this place was always in the “very, very tasty” category.

  6. Probably my favorite restaurant downtown.

  7. Hi neighbors and friends,

    This is Lan, owner and manager of VCafe, I will contact Tribecca Citizen paper to post some correction. We are freshening up the walls and floor etc … and ready to reopen hopefully in November to welcome back friends and neighbors.

    Come, visit and support us soon

    VCafe team