V Cafe has closed permanently

V Cafe, fka Viet Cafe, the Vietnamese restaurant that opened at 345 Greenwich more than 20 years ago, has closed permanently. There have been signs up for the sale of the commercial condo since 2021, but the new signs prompted me to get in touch with owner Lan Tran Cao, and she confirmed. It’s a really tough loss for the neighborhood, and right on the heels of Khe-Yo and Sarabeth’s.

Lan did have a restaurant in East Hampton that opened during the pandemic. Awaiting word to see if that is still open…

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 2011 and kept the restaurant. (The gallery space was most recently Outer Reach, the stretching studio, which closed in the pandemic.) (She was born in Hanoi and raised in Saigon, cooked for her family as a young girl, and opened two Vietnamese restaurants in Sydney while still an undergraduate.)

When the pandemic hit and everything closed here, she wanted to keep her staff working so she started a takeout operation in Southampton in July 2020. According to a feature in Dan’s Papers at the time, Cao plays tennis in the winters there and became friendly with the owners of the racquet club, who invited her to convert the club’s snack bar used mostly just for kids to Vietnamese street food.

She reopened here in November 2021, but when prominent “for rent” signs were again posted this April, folks panicked. But Lan assured me then that the restaurant was not closing. “Yes, I did post the sign but may be there’s a chance to continue,” she wrote. “Will keep you posted.” And here we are.

Viet Cafe was our family’s 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 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 in November 2020, which said the spaces would be delivered vacant and could be sold individually or together.


1 Comment

  1. What A loss what is going on on Greenwich Street? Why are we losing so many businesses specially, restaurants.