East Side Banh Mi’s Gracie Nguyen and Chad Newton reveal details of their new Vietnamese street food spot ESP (East Side Pho), which will open later this summer at East Nashville’s next food hall, The Wash.
The husband and wife restaurateurs behind the basics of East Nashville’s banh mi boutique take inspiration from Vietnamese street food and soup stalls at their second Eastside restaurant. Watch for a rainbow of Vietnamese pho options, as well as noodles, salads and other snacks on the menu at the open dining room’s micro-restaurant, which will focus on take-out service and Delivery. Nguyen’s Low Simmer Bone Broths will be the stars of the show, complemented with local meats and house touches made with high quality ingredients. Other Vietnamese comfort foods like bun bo hue (a spicy beef and noodle soup), chicken name hai (a comforting chicken and rice dish) and pho broth syrups will also be offered.
Raised in Houston, Texas, Nguyen spent much of her childhood baking alongside her mother at home, while learning Asian cuisine through her grandmother’s traditional Vietnamese dishes. She and Newton both share a love for cooking, spending time as chefs and restaurateurs along the West Coast.
Nguyen and Newton’s fast-casual The banh mi store opened on Gallatin in August 2020 amid the pandemic, and it was a quick local favorite. The solid array of sandwiches served on Nguyen’s delicious chopsticks, bowls and Vietnamese coffee drinks were all quick favorites, as was the popular Nashville Banh Mi Project, which featured special sandwiches from Nashville chefs from Sean Brock and Philip Krajeck to Sarah Gavigan and Mailea Weger and donated a portion of the proceeds from each sandwich sold to the Nashville Food Project.
ESP will be located at 1101 McKennie Avenue and is expected to open later this summer.
“We have been absolutely blown away by the support and enthusiasm Nashville has had for East Side Banh Mi since it opened, especially during such a difficult year for restaurants,” says Nguyen. “We’ve had the idea for this street food style soup stall concept for quite some time, and we were thrilled when our friend, Tyler Cauble, approached us to be a part of The Wash. We knew this innovative concept was a perfect fit. We are so grateful that Nashville has welcomed us with open arms, and we can’t wait to show this amazing city what else we can do.