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East Side Banh Mi Owners Share Details About Upcoming Food Hall Pho Shop

Nguyen and Newton’s ESP opens later this summer at forthcoming open-bay food hall the Wash

Michael David Rose/ESP

Gracie Nguyen and Chad Newton of East Side Banh Mi are spilling the details about their new Vietnamese street-food spot ESP (East Side Pho), set to open later this summer at East Nashville’s forthcoming food hall the Wash.

The husband-and-wife restaurateurs behind East Nashville’s essential banh mi shop draw inspiration from Vietnamese street food and soup stalls in their second Eastside spot. Watch for a rainbow of Vietnamese pho options, plus noodles, salads, and other snacks on the menu at the open-bay food hall’s micro-restaurant, which will hone in on takeout and delivery service. Nguyen’s own low-simmered bone broths will be the stars of the show, gussied up with local meats and housemade touches made with high-quality ingredients. Other Vietnamese comfort foods like bun bo hue (a spicy beef and noodle soup), chicken hai name (a comforting chicken and rice dish), and pho broth sippers will also be on offer.

Raised in Houston, Texas, Nguyen spent much of her childhood baking bread alongside her mother at home, while getting an education about Asian cuisine through her grandmother’s traditional Vietnamese dishes. She and Newton both share a love for cooking, both spending time as chefs and restaurateurs along the West Coast.

Nguyen and Newton’s fast-casual banh mi shop opened on Gallatin in August of 2020 amid the pandemic, and it was a quick local favorite. The solid lineup of sandwiches served on Nguyen’s exquisite baguettes, bowls, and Vietnamese coffee drinks were all fast favorites, as was the popular Nashville Banh Mi Project, which featured special sandwiches Nashville chefs from Sean Brock and Philip Krajeck to Sarah Gavigan and Mailea Weger and gave a portion of proceeds from every sandwich sold to the Nashville Food Project.

ESP will be located at 1101 McKennie Avenue, and is set to open later this summer.

“We have been absolutely blown away by the support and excitement Nashville has had for East Side Banh Mi since opening, especially during such a hard year for restaurants,” says Nguyen. “We’ve had the idea for this street food-style soup stall concept for a while, and we were thrilled when our friend, Tyler Cauble, approached us to be part of The Wash. We knew this innovative concept was a perfect fit. We’re so grateful that Nashville has welcomed us with open arms, and we can’t wait to show this amazing city what else we can do.”