Outdoor Store Signage

How it All started

We are committed to creating fresh, healthy, and authentic Vietnamese foods for the modern palate!

As the owners of Lotus Cafe, we are dedicated to bringing our tasty yet affordable Banh Mi sandwiches and other Vietnamese specialties to the UIC Chicago area. We specialize in made-to-order, authentic and flavorful Vietnamese-style sandwiches called Banh Mi. Our menu was designed with nutrition and flavor in mind and our cafe was created with the vision of an inviting and warm yet modern space for students and local residents to gather.

We are former UIC students with degrees in biology/nutrition and civil engineering. During our years at UIC, we felt there was a lack of Vietnamese food in the area and that sparked the desire to open up our own Vietnamese sandwich shop. We emphasize freshness and authenticity by using ingredients and recipes with deep roots in Vietnamese culinary history. We have designed and built this cafe from the ground up and look forward to sharing our culinary experiences with you!

– Owners, Dao Nguyen and Kim Dao

10 years ago when we visited this lighthouse in Maine, we were young college students with a couple hundred bucks and a trusty maroon accord, embarking on our first trip together. Our hotel was the back seat of the car, our entertainment, the massive 17" HP laptop, and our itinerary, whatever was in front of us. Unknown then was what the lighthouse would eventually come to symbolize; the preludes to the chapters of our lives.

We would stumble upon this place 5 years later, when on a whim we decided to escape Chicago for one last time, that last trip before we would put everything on the line to pursue Lotus, a name which had came during that visit to the lighthouse. A flower whose traits came to characterize not only the struggles and perseverance of our business, but our journey through life.

In a blink of an eye, here we are again, 5 years past, at the lighthouse that has witnessed the growth of America, and that of my family. As we watch the kids roam the rollin' foothills, blowing dandelion fuzz along the gentle ocean breeze, we become overwhelmed with all that life has given us. Under the shadows of this guiding light, we cherish the past, reap in the beauty of the moment, and wonder with cautious hope, what stories our next visit to the lighthouse will tell.

Dao Nguyen