I just read an article about a chain called Lee's Sandwiches. It's primarily Vietnamese with some American crossover. The article said that they make all sorts of things in-store such as ice cream, baguettes, etc. and their meats are produced for the company in their own factory. The stores seem to be mostly in the Western half of the country but they're looking to expand.
I love bahn mi, Vietnamese coffee, and fresh bread. Reading the story made me both hungry and jealous. Anyone have any experience with their food? I'd love to hear more about them - and maybe convince them to expand into my area.
I'd say they are pretty good. Especially because you have a better understanding of what you are getting compared to the more traditional places. Definitely more palatable to the less adventurous.
To me the beauty of the Bahn Mi is the fresh ingredients and the bread... for which I have no complaints from Lee's.
For a chain they ain't all that bad.
I think most "mom-and-pop" shops in LA County (e.g. SGV, Westminster) are better, but there are definitely worse places to get a bánh mì .
They bake baguettes fresh every hour I believe. The only problem I have is that they tend to tear up the inside of my mouth, the sandwiches do, unless I order it on a croissant, but then it's not a bahn mi anymore...
Coffee is good, but can tend on the sweet side. They also sell it by the half gallon which is nice when you buy a bunch of sandwiches for a pot luck type event.
As for ice cream...huh?
I tend to like my local mom and pop places better than Lee's. Lee's to me is like the McDonald's of bahn mi stores. They're everywhere!
Like McDonalds, I still go to Lee's for certain things. 2 long baguettes for $1.50. 4-9 inch baguettes for $1. Sticky rice with chinese sausage and chicken for I think only $2.50. Che is decent there too. I just go crazy buying a little bit of everything and spending less than $20.
It's one of the only places in the Phoenix area to get bahn mi, and I actually love their bread (I have no complaints about it being too tough here). I do agree the sandwiches are a bit on the thin side, but it's so cheap that it's hard to complain (the bread will fill you up no matter what). It's also nice to be able to take less adventurous eaters there ("head cheese is made of WHAT??!") and have them be able to happily order a European-style sandwich and enjoy it.
Every time I get coffee from Lee's they give me iced coffee (the menu just says "Vietnamese Coffee", and it's always more ice than coffee. I guess I need to be really specific.
It's always more ice than coffee b/c it should be very concentrated. You don't gulp it down, but savor the coffee and let the ice melt. It will last so much longer. They also sell their coffee in 1/2 gallon jugs. I believe if you ask for less ice, you will get the same amount of coffee.