Downtown shoppers and merchants may have noticed the faint smell of Vietnamese cuisine lingering lately in the air.
That's probably because Kim's Café, 126 E. Washington St., opened three weeks ago.
The family-run restaurant adjacent to Sequim Vision Clinic specializes in traditional Vietnamese food.
Manager Lien Vornbrock moved to the United States from Vietnam five years ago. Kim Thompson, head chef, relocated in 1969 to be with her husband, an American soldier she met and married during the war.
Thompson's daughter and Kim's Café owner Diana Thompson-Young named the restaurant after her mother.
"When she moved here it was hard for her to eat because she was so unaccustomed to the food," Thompson-Young said.
"Now, she enjoys sharing a little bit of her culture with the friends she's made."
Running the café is a new experience for the whole family. Thompson and her late husband owned and operated the Sundown Saloon for 13 years, but the building had remained empty since the business closed a couple of years ago.
"We needed a little time to recover and get back on our feet before we could jump back into something like this," Thompson-Young said.
Thompson-Young, a licensed doctor of optometry, bought the building in 2005 and relocated the Sequim Vision Clinic to it in 2006. She'd purchcsed the practice in 2000 from Dr. Neil Cays.
Since it opened, Kim's Café has been bustling with activity, particularly during lunchtime.
"It's busier than we originally anticipated it being," Thompson-Young said.
As a result, a few customers may have left the restaurant with a negative impression - something Thompson-Young is trying hard to reverse.
"We are still getting our feet wet," she said.
"We hope that people will give us a little grace in these first few weeks.
"We don't want to cut corners but we understand if people come in on their lunch break, we need to feed them and get them out in a timely manner," she said, extending an apology to any customers who might have had their orders delivered incorrectly or who had to wait excessively.
Typical to Vietnamese culture, the entire family helps run the café, including Thompson-Young's two children, 8 and 6 years old, who often clear tables, deliver water and collect menus.
"They are enjoying it," Thompson-Young said about her boys, sharing a story about how her youngest son was negotiating his "wages" when the older boy told his grandmother:
"Don't worry, grandma; I will work for food."
Kim's Café opens at 11 a.m. Monday-Saturday. Closing hours still are being determined.
Ashley Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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