Couple brings authentic banh mi, Vietnamese coffee to Downtown | Downtown Albany

Couple brings authentic banh mi, Vietnamese coffee to Downtown

Couple brings authentic banh mi, Vietnamese coffee to Downtown


Banh Mi 47 one of first restaurants worldwide to serve Impossible pork

An eatery that serves authentic Vietnamese sandwiches and coffee was welcomed to downtown Albany with a ribbon cutting ceremony. For Banh Mi 47 owners Mike and Stacy Nguyen, the journey to opening a restaurant – the first either of them has opened or worked in – started with banh mi bread. Growing up, Mike’s family would often take trips to metro areas in the US that house larger Vietnamese populations to dine on good banh mi sandwiches, but it wasn’t until he traveled to Vietnam that his view of the specialty bread would change forever. That experience and marrying Stacy, who Mike calls a great baker, and friends encouraging the couple to open a restaurant based on the banh mi sandwiches they were making at home, all planted the seed from which Banh Mi 47 grew. 

In 2017, Stacy began working to perfect a recipe for the traditional Vietnamese baguette made from wheat flour with a thin, crispy crust and airy texture. After multiple close but not quite right attempts at making the specialty bread, Mike, Stacy, and their children took a vacation to Vietnam in 2018. It was once Stacy ate banh mi in Vietnam that a light went off, and the couple researched both recipes and the kitchen equipment that would be needed to perfect the bread. A few months after their return from that trip, with the recipe complete, Mike and Stacy began looking for a space to open.  

Recipes that Mike and Stacy developed are based on family recipes and meals enjoyed at restaurants, and while staying true to authentic cuisine, the duo also worked to put their own spin on some menu items including fried tofu. All sandwiches are served with house made mayo, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, and a splash of maggi, with hot peppers optional. Available meats and vegan options include bbq pork, silky sausage, and pate (Xá Xíu), grilled beef (Bò Nướng), lemongrass chicken (Gà Nướng Sả), lemongrass tofu (Đậu Hũ Chiên Sả), and Impossible pork meatballs (Xíu Mại Chạy). The latter is especially noteworthy because Banh Mi 47 is one of only a handful of restaurants worldwide that currently serve Impossible pork. News of the offering spread far and wide, with coverage coming both locally and, in what Mike calls a surreal moment, international Vietnamese language news channel SBTN covered the story.  

In addition to the taste of Vietnamese food, customers also have the opportunity to sip on authentic Vietnamese coffee, available iced and hot, served at the eatery. Differing from the Arabica bean people typically think of with coffee, Ca Phe is made with Robusta beans and traditionally uses a Vietnamese Phin coffee filter and served with sweetened condensed milk.  Mike says they are currently using drip and espresso machine brewing methods but plan to offer the traditional Phin coffee experience in the spring when the weather gets nicer, and they can take advantage of their outdoor cafe permit.  Banh Mi 47 uses only Nguyen Coffee Supply coffee, with Mike pointing out that many Vietnamese restaurants in the US serve Café Du Monde coffee with chicory, and while he says that can be good and strong, it is “not truly” Vietnamese coffee. Robusta beans, he adds, are integral to the Vietnamese coffee culture, and have more antioxidants, and less fats and sugar than Arabica beans.  

Banh Mi 47, located at 74 N Pearl Street, is open Tuesday-Friday 11:30 AM-6:00 PM, and Saturday-Sunday 11:00 AM-3:00 PM. For more information, visit banhmi47.com or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/banhmi47official and Instagram at instagram.com/banhmi47albany

Read the full press release here