Michael Vu prepares a sandwich before the lunchtime rush at Hanoi 36. (File photo)

Michael Vu prepares a sandwich before the lunchtime rush at Hanoi 36. (File photo)

Business: Salmon Arm restaurateur working for the Weekends

Hanoi 36 owner Michael Vu to open new downtown izakaya-inspired restaurant

Michael Vu has plans for a new restaurant, a place downtown where people might soon reconnect and relax as they would on a weekend.

The Salmon Arm restaurateur, who owns and operates Hanoi 36 at 141 Hudson St., is excited about his next venture, Weekends Restaurant & Lounge, to be located down the block and around the corner on Alexander Street at the former Chicken Direct location – the space currently marked with an Adam Meikle mural of a dog fetching a Frisbee.

Vu’s inspiration for the planned 26-seat restaurant are, in part, big-city izakaya eateries and tapas bars – casual drinking establishments where customers can order a variety of dishes off a menu to be shared at the table. Vu had the idea to open such a place in Salmon Arm long before COVID-19 and related restrictions.

“As soon as we came to Salmon Arm and set up Hanoi 36, we scouted around the area to see what is needed…,” said Vu. “It seems we do have a lot of similarities in terms of cuisine for the bulk of the restaurants in Salmon Arm. With that, we figured maybe we should play it up a little bit.”

Vu intended to have Weekends open by May but, with the current provincial health order prohibiting in-house dining, he’s hoping to be serving customers later this summer.

Vu does have a menu ready though. It offers charcuterie boards and a variety of specialty sandwiches that include a kimchi karaage chicken roll and a Philly cheesesteak roll with gravy. The menu also includes several poutines, featuring fresh-cut kennebec potatoes, cheese curds and an in-house gravy (a word it pains Vu, a French-trained chef, to use) made from the beef broth at Hanoi 36. Vu said he would like to open a chain of poutineries, but will start with Weekends’ poutines and tapas-style dishes.

Read more: Flavours of Vietnam coming to Salmon Arm

Read more: In photos: North Vietnamese restaurant Hanoi 36 opens in Salmon Arm

As weekends often involve staying up late, Vu plans to keep the new restaurant open late.

“The whole point of Weekends was that people like myself who have family and also who work until 8:30 or 9 p.m., by that time, we have nowhere to eat or drink. Even though I own a restaurant, the last thing I want to do is cook for myself…” laughed Vu, noting Salmon Arm’s demographics are changing, with younger families and working professionals moving to the city from larger urban centres who might be accustomed to the type of dining experience Weekends will offer.

When COVID-19 restrictions do ease up and B.C. restaurants can once again welcome diners inside, Vu anticipates it will be a good time for Weekends.

“When things do cool down a little bit, we’ll need places like this,” said Vu. “We need places to connect again, places where we can get together, where we can say, ‘Hi, how are you doing? Have a drink on me.’ It’s one of those things that let us feel somewhat normal again.”


lachlan@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

 

Hanoi 36 owner Michael Vu hopes to open Weekends Restaurant & Lounge this summer in the former Chicken Direct location on Alexander Street. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Hanoi 36 owner Michael Vu hopes to open Weekends Restaurant & Lounge this summer in the former Chicken Direct location on Alexander Street. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Firefighters were called to a grass fire on a hillside slope behind the post office in Summerland on Friday shortly before 2 p.m. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Firefighters extinguish blaze behind Summerland Post Office

Fire on hillside slope occurred Friday, June 18 shortly before 2 p.m.

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Emergency crews responded to Highway 97 after a motorcycle incident. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Motorcyclist taken to hospital after collision on Highway 97

It is not known the extent of their injuries

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read