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D.C.’s newest Vietnamese sandwich joint, BONMi, opens at 11 a.m. on Monday at 900 19th Street NW. The operators will be giving away some 2,500 tickets for free lunches to be redeemed after opening week. [UPDATE: A rep for the restaurant clarifies that the free lunch certificates are solely for tenants of the building at 19th and I Streets NW—-not the general public. The proprietor had previously failed to mention that part of the giveaway. The author regrets any confusion this might have caused.]
All the proteins are prepared sous-vide, but the proprietors didn’t want to get too fancy with the menu. “We really kept in mind, ‘What is the American palate going to eat?'” says Lynne Jacoby, a partner in the company JBH Advisory Group that has conceptualized the new 40-seat eatery. “You know, we didn’t do the pate, we didn’t do the head cheese, which is more traditional of bánh mì.”
The company is planning to open at least two more locations in the D.C. area before possibly expanding elsewhere. “We definitely want it to be a franchise model,” she says.
The District is an ideal launching pad for the concept, according to Jacoby. “We did a lot of demographic studies and, actually, D.C. is the best place for restaurants to open, believe it or not,” she says. “Unemployment is very low here, it’s a very eclectic group of people here, and there’s a high concentration of educated people….There’s a lot of things that kind of drove us here.”
Check out the menu below:
Photo by Chris Shott