The James Beard Foundation just announced that Dong Phuong restaurant and bakery in New Orleans is one of five recipients of the 2018 America’s Classics award. JBF gives the America’s Classics awards to restaurants that have a “timeless appeal and are cherished for quality food that reflects the character of their community.” This year’s American Classics show an appreciation of immigrant-owned restaurants.
The other honorees are Sun Wah in Chicago, Galleria Umberto in Boston, Los Hernandez in Washington state, and El Guero Canelo in Tucson. Past New Orleans honorees include Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, Mosca’s, and Willie Mae’s Scotch House.
The winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Foundation Awards Gala on May 7, 2018 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Below are JBF’s comments on Dong Phuong, from a press release this morning.
The Vietnamese community in New Orleans dates to the end of the Vietnam War, when refugees moved to Louisiana, where they relished a climate reminiscent of their home. De Tran and Huong Tran settled in New Orleans East. In 1982, they opened Dong Phuong, one of the area’s first Vietnamese bakeries. They became known for their banh mi, sandwiches variously stuffed with pâté, Chinese sausage, and barbecue chicken, slicked with aioli and topped with pickled vegetables and fresh herbs. Now run by Huong Tran and daughter, Linh Tran Garza, Dong Phuong exemplifies how thoroughly the Vietnamese community has become a vital part of the local culinary landscape. The bakery now supplies dozens of cafes and shops with thin, crackling-crust bread with a pillowy interior, ideal for building the city’s iconic po-boy sandwiches.