220C Banh Mi and Sweets is now open in Charlotte NC MoRA

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Banh mi sandwiches at 220C Banh Mi.

220C Banh Mi and Coffee has opened in the MoRA district, bringing the flavors of Vietnam to Charlotte in the shop that once ran the Deep Sea Seafood Market.

Cece Pham, her brother, Giang Pham, and her fiancé, Alexander Phan, own the restaurant. The three-person team starts their day at 4 a.m. most days, with Phan doing the baking. He said the name of the restaurant was a nod to this profession – 220 degrees Celsius is the temperature used to bake the bread to create a nice golden color.

Phan said the initial response has been so great that the team has asked customers to be patient as they try to keep products in stock. The store closes at 7 p.m., but they work late into the night to prepare for the early morning baking.

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Alexander Phan, Cece Pham and Giang Pham own 220C Banh Mi. Tricia Tam/MoRA

ON THE MENU: As well as the homemade banh mi – created with French baguettes baked daily on site – you’ll find other Vietnamese specialties including taro breads and savory pastries such as beef bulgogi buns, cheese buns with cream and even a hot dog bun.

Phan recommends beginners start with a beef bulgogi banh mi or the crispy pork belly banh mi, both topped with house-pickled radishes and carrots, fresh cucumber, cilantro, scallions and jalapenos.

There are also sweets. Cream puffs are available in vanilla, mocha, matcha and Thai tea flavors, and you’ll find dessert soups including Che Thai and Sam Bo Luong.

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The savory buns at 220C Banh Mi include beef bulgogi and hot dogs. Tricia Tam/MoRA

THE COFFEE PROGRAM: Vietnamese coffee is available hot and cold, as are most beverages. Choices include espressos, cortados, americanos, lattes (standard, chai, or matcha), flat whites, cappuccinos, and mochas.

THE ATMOSPHERE: Phan said they wanted the 220C to be a place where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome, including older immigrants who may have a language barrier. (He’s a second-generation Asian American, while the Phams came here a few years ago from Saigon.) There’s a spot in the corner perfect for Instagram, but it’s also a tribute to Vietnam. which he hopes will bring nostalgia to the natives.

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220C Banh Mi is at 10020 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, NC 28270 Tricia Tam/MoRA

ABOUT THE STAFF: Their fathers are best friends, and the Phams connected with Phan during a trip to Orlando, where he and his family live and operate a similar business. The Phams had wanted to open a banh mi shop in Charlotte, and Phan brought baking expertise to the table – and thus a business venture was born.

While her parents would rather Phan return to Orlando, Charlotte tugs at her heartstrings.

Somewhere along the way, “I kind of fell in love with her,” Phan said of Cece Pham. Now that they are engaged, he hopes to stay in town. “It’s such a versatile and really awesome community,” he added.

The team also has big plans for the future. “We also want to make 220C a chain, and we want to be here to better control stores in the future,” said Cece Pham.

220C Banh Mi and Coffee

Location: 10020 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 28270

Neighbourhood: Sardis Woods/MoRA

Menu

Instagram: @220c.banhmi

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Heidi Finley is a writer and editor for CharlotteFive and the Charlotte Observer. Outside of work, you’ll most likely find her in the suburbs driving the kids, volunteering, and indulging in foodie pursuits.

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