new chain Banh Mi shop under construction on Larkin in SF near Turtle Tower
While walking on the 600 block of Larkin in San Francisco yesterday afternoon, I noticed a store under construction with a long food counter and pictures of what looked like banh mi, Vietnamese sandwiches, posted on the wall. It was located near the alley between Turtle Tower and Bodega Bistro on the west side of Larkin. I asked a gentleman who appeared to be connected to the new business if it was a banh mi shop and he answered that it was. He also said that it was part of a chain of 30 banh mi shops and that this was their first one in San Francisco. He also said that they would not be serving pho as he nodded his head in the direction of Turtle Towwer. It was much larger and more modern than its competitors such as Baguette Express or Saigon Sandwich across the street.
Does anyone know which chain this might be and what the quality of their food is? This could be a severe setback for the other sandwich shops in the area.
30 shops, the first in SF? Sounds like it will be a Lee's. Yup, a visit to the Lees website confirms it:
If I was in that nabe and had that many choices of banh mi shops, I'd never step foot into Lee's. Now I'm surprised they didn't open in the FiDi, they'd make a ton of business and some of the people there wouldn't know (or care) about the lower quality.
re: Gary Soup
They had an announcement sign on that building last year for a July (2005) opening, but it came down. I personally prefer smaller shops to Lee's, but I'll be interested if they bake their own bread on premises. Baguette Express gets their bread from San Jose, and I like it, but I miss the smaller, crunchier baguettes I get in Westminster, CA.