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Lee's Sandwiches

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.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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 .

      1. 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?

        3 Replies
        1. re: justagthing

          I've tried only three places so far but Lee's is the least favorite. Their bread is just too darn tough and the fillings are on the slim side.

          1. re: justagthing

            I've seen ice cream at one of the locations...I believe it was Rosemead...the one with the drive-thru! Sandwich was good, but not as great as other Bahn Mi I've had from non-chain restaurants. Their neon-green coconut waffles intrigued me, but it tasted very plain.

            1. re: justagthing

              The ice cream is actually great -- lots of nonwestern flavors -- avocado, longan, taro, etc. I mean, it's not the greatest quality artisanal ice cream, but it's a nice change from Baskin Robbins. Avocado smoothies are also excellent. I'm craving one now.

            2. 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.

              1. 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.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sistinas

                  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.

                2. Like many of the folks have said, they're decent for a chain. You won't get a lot of meat in your typical sandwich, but at under $4, what can you really expect? I found the flavor to be pretty darn good, and the bread is tougher than I'd like. Better bahn mi is found elsewhere, but if you don't have access to it, I'd say this is a fine substitute.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MeAndroo

                    That's just it ... you're not supposed to get a lot of meat in a typical banh mi.

                    A banh mi is not your typical grinder or hoagie.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      That's odd, I seem to remember getting more at some point in the past. Maybe I was just smaller :)

                  2. I don't post often, but when I saw your topic I felt compelled to answer. I love vietnamese sandwiches- I always try new places when I'm down in San Jose. That said, Lee's made the absolute worst one I have ever tried, and the only time I've ever tossed a sandwich. I had grilled pork, which was nothing but grilled fat. The vegetables were extremely scarce, just a couple of shreds. UGGGHHH! This was about 3-4 years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: burntcream

                      Hmm, weird. I've been to a bunch of Lee's, admittedly mostly in southern CA, but also in San Jose and I had the usual middling experience that everyone else talks about.

                    2. Lee's was my introduction to bahn mi. It's tasty for what it is, but I like sandwiches with mayo. Otherwise, it's fresh and affordable.

                      I've got a bit of an addictive nature, and I'm currently addicted to the $4 box sandwiches (ham, tuna, egg) from Cream Pan.

                      1. ... Just back from Beijing where the Hotel Kunlun dining area always smelled like you just walked into a Chinese Restaurant. I was still in the mood for a little more Chinese! As I said I don’t like to be disappointed and if there’s too much salt or my fries aren’t hot enough at McDonald’s I’m going to complain and send them back!

                        So, I’m going to Give Lee a shot! Yes, they had regular sandwiched as well, but come on—let’s roll the dice from up high!

                        I had rice paper wrapper spring rolls with shrimp and roasted pork and chicken lo mien. $2.50 each! Delicious! Fantastic! What a find!

                        Then I tell a couple of people about it and they tell me it’s a chain and they are all over—Double Fantastic! So, good job Lee and please keep up the great work! For the entire article visit: http://www.irasciblechef.com/accident...

                        —IrascibleChef