Owned and operated by U of H Alum, Ronnie and Linda Nguyen, Roostar Vietnamese Grill is a visionary brand in the hospitality space, serving custom banh mi sandwiches, alongside authentic noodle, and rice dishes in a festive environment reminiscent of the true Vietnamese street vendor scene. Roostar is proud to be one of the highest rated customer experiences in the country (Yelp’s Top 100 Restaurants) and to have earned multiple awards in cook-offs, as well as have been featured on “Best Of” lists by Houston Chronicle, CultureMap, Houston Press, and more. Roostar currently offers their mouthwatering Vietnamese classics from three fast-casual store front sites, located in Spring Branch, the Galleria Area, and the East End, as well as an extensive catering program. Ronnie and Linda intend on continuing steady and calculated growth of the brand as they move towards their goal of becoming the best quick service Vietnamese restaurant in the country, with a significant emphasis on food quality and, most of all, excellent service.
Roostar, located on the grounds of the former Vietnam Poblano, creates custom banh mi (read: bun-me) sandwiches. Served alongside rice and noodles in a colorful environment, these authentic dishes capture the festive spirit of the Vietnamese street vendor scene. Visitors to Saigon City get to dine while walking in a blur of blue scooters and brightly lit restaurants, and customers at Roostar get to live that same experience closer to the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston.
The banh mi sandwich is a delicious fusion of Vietnamese and French flavors that diners can have served alongside mouthwatering wings and specialty coffees. A visit to Roostar captures the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Vietnamese experience.
Years ago, Linda Nguyen’s grandma had a sandwich shop in Vietnam. Her family recipes were passed down when Linda’s mom taught her how to make everything from French mayonnaise and pate to perfect pork belly and egg rolls. And those are the same authentic, delicious, grandma-approved recipes you’ll experience every time you come to Roostar. Linda grew up stocking shelves in her parent’s grocery store, falling in love with the food industry early.
Later, as a host and server, she learned the intricacies of creating the perfect dining experience. Combined with her years of high level managerial and sales experience, Linda has sharp instincts for operations and systems that consistently deliver excellent results - from Roostar’s artfully crafted sandwiches to the caring sandwich artist who knows your name.
In 2005 Linda met her fiance & business partner, Ronnie Nguyen. Both hold a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Houston. But while Ronnie is the heart of Roostar, innovating behind the scenes, Linda is the soul. She brings Ronnie’s ideas to life. She treats her customers and employees like family. She wants to know your name, your favorite foods, your dog’s name… and she wants you to feel at home when you’re at Roostar.
Upon opening, Roostar quickly earned a loyal customer following… and impressive accolades. In 2015 Roostar was featured on Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. and won the 2015 & 2016 People’s Choice Award during Houston’s The Great Bánh Mì Cook-Off. They were voted Best Bánh Mì shop by the Houston Press in 2015, 2016, & 2017. Their mission is to transport you to another place using fresh food & flavors and to make you feel at home with good ol’ fashioned Southern hospitality.
The Essence Of Banh Mi
The taste of Banh Mi is like Vietnam itself: bold and unique. This flavorful sandwich had to capture the attention of the busy motorbikers driving by on the crowded streets of Vietnamese cities. Designed to be quick, convenient, and easy to carry, banh mi never lost one important characteristic: flavor. These sandwiches were so delicious and so popular that Vietnamese cities saw the rise of tiny tables and chairs alongside busy streets, where customers could sit and enjoy banh mi while taking in the iconic sites of Vietnam.
The secret to a good banh mi sandwich is fresh ingredients that are free from trans fats. Inspired by the French Colonial period, when France occupied Vietnam, the banh mi began as a combination of locally found Vietnamese meats and vegetables stuffed into a French baguette. The resulting sandwich exploded in popularity. Since then, it has become the essence of the Vietnamese urban cuisine dining experience. Rooted in the simplicity and richness of the Vietnamese culture, banh mi continues to win new fans as demand for it spreads throughout the world.