Kim Le and Hung Luong, the owners of Vietnamese Noodle House in city’s downtown, have decided to close their business after 18 years of serving the community.
The couple, who emigrated from Vietnam in the 1990s, opened their restaurant in 2005, offering authentic Vietnamese cuisine and friendly service. Their daughter, Branda Le, who has been working at the restaurant since she was in middle school, said the decision was not easy.
“It was a lot of things, I think, like Covid was really hard and my dad’s health wasn’t good. We were quite worried for him,” said Branda. “So I think the stress from Covid and the paperwork and the staffing problems made us think that maybe it was time to (let my parents) retire and enjoy life.”
The restaurant was very busy before Covid, she said, and even during the pandemic, the owners received a lot of support from the local community.
“But it’s really hard to run a restaurant, especially when you’re getting older and you have to work long hours and deal with a lot of challenges. My parents worked so hard for so long, and they saved enough, so I think they deserve to take a step back and relax,” said Branda.
Luong shed light on some of the challenges they had running the restaurant. She said her husband Kim had a health scare two years ago, when he lost a lot of weight after getting multiple vaccines, including the Covid vaccine and the shingles vaccine. She said they were not sure if it was a side effect of the vaccinations or stress, but he recovered after a series of checkups and blood work.
Luong and Kim had no time to eat or rest when the restaurant was busy, and they had to deal with staff turnover and food costs. She said they were OK with the income, but the money was not everything. They decided they’d rather have more time for themselves and their health.
Despite all the hardships that they had gone through, there were also good times over close to two decades in business. She said that when they renovated the site to make it more appealing, their loyal customers who liked their food and service would always check in on the progress.
The experiences made them feel like they were part of the community, and they enjoyed meeting new people and making friends.
Luong said it was a hard decision for them that to close the restaurant, but they are also excited for the next chapter to come. They hope to travel and see more of Canada and the world.
Looking forward, Luong said that they will always remember their restaurant and their customers, and will try to keep in touch with them in the future.