Kelsey Nguyen gets a little misty-eyed when she talks about her customers’ loyalty.
When she and her husband opened their first restaurant, Bistro B, they worried because there wasn’t a large Asian community in the area. But with a little faith, they built a business with a dedicated following. Now customers support them at their bakery next door, B Bahn Café.
Everything about Nguyen’s business centers around the customer. Prices are kept low so that the students at nearby Richland College can afford them. They experiment with different baked goods and take them off the menu if customers disapprove. The couple even serves freshly-pressed juices at half price so people have a cheap, healthy option.
Pair a simple, sweet Love Milk Roll with a freshly-pressed juice for an on-the-go breakfast.
One of the most talked-about items on the menu is the house coffee made with condensed milk and sea salt.
But their cakes top other restaurants, decorated with fresh ingredients, including strawberries and mint. Consider them for birthday celebrations when you want to showcase something distinctive.
“Sometimes I don’t even know what to call the things I create,” Nguyen says. “I just know I like them and my kids like them. They are still a big hit.”
Nguyen never saw herself in the restaurant industry. She says her husband is the chef in the family, and so it was his idea. Over the years, though, Nguyen fell in love with cooking. She loves the rush of making something her customers enjoy. Lake Highlands isn’t a hotbed for tourism, so she’s built her own community by pleasing her customers. They keep coming back, and for Nyguyen, that’s all that matters.
B Bahn Café
Address: 9780 Walnut St., suite 280
Hours: 6 a.m.-midnight