When entrepreneur Henry Leui moved to Asiatown seven years ago, the neighborhood was very different than it is today, he recalls. "A lot of the buildings were boarded up, there were homeless people on the streets, and nobody came out on the weekends. Even I felt scared," he says. Fast forward seven years and things have never looked better for this hopping ethnic enclave. "Now, lots of people come here to eat and shop, it's much safer, and the buildings are restored."
Including his own, which will soon be Asiatown's newest restaurant.
The owner of Luxury Nail Supply, just east of Number One Pho on Superior, is renovating the adjacent storefront to accommodate a 60-seat restaurant. When it opens within two months, Saigon Grille will serve Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, with an emphasis on grilled items. Dishes typically consist of marinated and grilled meats served atop rice or noodles. Leui's brother-in-law, who recently owned a restaurant in Atlanta, will be the chef. He is currently in Vietnam brushing up, says Leui.
"I believe the more restaurants in this area, the more people it will bring," he notes. That plan seems to be working thus far.