LOS ANGELES, September 9, 2020 – Chef Casey Felton is doing Banh Oui in Hollywood her way. The California based Vietnamese and French fast casual restaurant comes from humble beginnings. Starting as a 10x10 tent at an outdoor market, to what is now a bustling brick and mortar location in the heart of Hollywood, Banh Oui has adapted into a female-powered and community driven hotspot serving sandwiches and farmers market driven sides. Her love of Banh Mi’s came from her time spent in Australia in 2013, where she visited a small 200 square foot banh mi shop, Merrickville Pork Roll. Despite having banh mi before, Felton had the best one of her life here. Realizing the need to share her experience with her community in Los Angeles, Banh Oui was born. With Felton’s background working in highly esteemed kitchens like Providence, Red Medicine and The Tasting Kitchen, the menu at Banh Oui reflects her fine-dining finesse in an accessible way.
"Banh Oui is my "think out loud" passion project. It's a space where I can express myself creatively as a chef, and also learn the ins and outs of being a first time restaurant owner. Building Banh Oui from the ground up has truly been a labor of love. Now that I am the sole owner, I'm excited about all the changes happening within the shop and on the menu,” said Felton. “Small restaurants alike are doing their best to juggle this financial crisis, but if there were ever a silver lining to our current situation, it is this: I'm grateful for the people I work with. I'm grateful that they're coming to work everyday, willing to roll with the punches, to brainstorm menu ideas with me, and to make the most of this unpredictable time. This is a time of learning, flexibility, and struggle."
Having started Banh Oui in 2016 with a business partner, Felton is now the sole owner. Empowered with a renewed sense of ownership and freedom, Felton has used her hardships as an opportunity to get creative and support her community. With 2020 now a “pandemic economy”, Felton has used her prime restaurant location next to the Hollywood farmers market as a way to get involved with supporting local farmers who have been hit hard during COVID-19. Banh Oui now shares storefront space with several farmers market vendors. By supporting the smaller businesses she is curating a more genuine spirit in selling their products at no profit to herself.
Banh Oui currently sells the following products:
· House plants from Ipatzi Nursery
· California Walnuts from K&K Ranch
· Olive Oil from Nuvo
· Dates from Dates by Duvall
· Almond Butter from Fat Uncle Farms
· Miso from Omiso
· Honey from Martinez Apiaries
In the midst of the pandemic, Felton connected with local farmers who were not able to have lunch as usual from the pre-packaged food vendors at the market and developed a program where she created over 165 vendor meals per week based on produce donated from farmers at the end of the day. This program was the catalyst for her new approach to menu items, now rotating weekly that are inspired by the bounty of produce she found at the market that week.
New dishes inspired by market vendors include:
· Baby Bok Choy with pickled serrano and soy beans (Yasutomi Farms bok choy)
· Grilled baby artichokes, caramelized onion and fish sauce served with opal basil aioli (Suncoast farms artichokes, Kong Thao opal basil)
· Summer Corn with chili jam, basil, and parm (basil from Roots farm and tomatoes from Kong Thao)
· Crispy Smashed Potatoes with oregano, garlic, chili and parm (potatoes from T&D Farms)
· Apple Tarte Tatin (apples from T&D Farms)