For many Americans, Labor Day is a day of rest. Well that isn’t the case for 22-year-old sandwich artisan Tuan Nguyen. Nguyen is a loyal employee of his family-owned restaurant, Bánhwich Café located at 940 N 26th St. #201, Lincoln, NE 68503.
Bánhwich Café is a restaurant that makes sandwiches or ‘bánh mì’, pronounced in Vietnamese, inspired by different Asian cultural backgrounds. The café offers Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Thai inspired foods. The owner and founder of the café Hoang Nguyen, created the restaurant in September of 2011 and promoted his nephew, Tuan Nguyen, as manager in 2017.
Tuan Nguyen has been an employee at Bánhwich Café for 11 months and thoroughly enjoys working there, even if it’s on labor day. On a normal working day, the café regularly gets lunch rushes.
On warm days, such as Labor Day, families tend to make an appearance at the bistro to order boba tea. Boba tea originated from Taiwan and eventually the recipe migrated to other Asian countries. The refreshment is accompanied with toppings such as fruit, jelly and tapioca balls.
If families would like a recommendation for a sandwich to pair with their drink, Nguyen would refer to the Korean bulgogi.
Nguyen begins making the sandwich by cutting ribeye meat into thin slices and sautéing it quickly on a hot pan. Onions are also cooked and caramelized with Bánhwich Café owner’s “secret sauce”. The meat and onions are then put in a toasted ‘bánh mì’ or French baguette.
“We toast it so the outer layer is crispy while the inside is soft,” Tuan Nguyen said. “We layer vegetables in their cucumbers, pickled daikon, pickle carrot, cilantro and also kind of a kick jalapenos.”
When Nguyen puts his Bánhwich Café t-shirt on every morning, it is more than just making sandwiches, it is a chance for him to grow as a leader.
Bánhwich Café employee Elvira Batelaan said, “Tuan as manager he does really well, he’s always working hard making sure everything is done well.”
Regardless of what steady or busy day Nguyen is working, he emulates his hardworking-nature from his mother. Nguyen considers his mom as his motivation and calls her his “idol”.