Savoring Santa Clara:
A Journey From Past To Present
By Ben Landis, Marketing Manager
If you’ve lived in the San Jose or the greater south Bay Area, chances are that you will instantly recognize the Lee’s Sandwiches name. Serving Vietnamese Banh Mi, "European style" baguette sandwiches, Vietnamese iced coffee, and a delightful array of Vietnamese quick eats, Lee’s Sandwiches has become a beloved fixture in the South Bay Area.
Back in 1983, Chieu Le and his wife Yen Quach laid the foundation for Lee’s Sandwiches with their first location in Downtown San Jose. The rest is history with an expansion of over 60 locations across Arizona, California, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia and with international locations in Ho Chi Minh City and Taipei.
Now, fast-forward to today, and the Lee’s Sandwiches empire is still expanding, but with a fresh twist. The spotlight shifts to the next generation of the Le family, spearheaded by Thang Le, the owner of the latest Lee’s Sandwiches establishment in Santa Clara, California. The Discover Santa Clara team got a chance to sit down with Thang Le to learn what drove him to open this location in Santa Clara.
Approaching this location, you’ll spot the familiar Lee’s Sandwiches branding, but step inside, and you'll notice deliberate changes that bridge the gap between tradition and the modern era.
As soon as you walk in you are greeted by vibrant colors, a modern restaurant design, an Instagrammable LED sign saying “I Love Banh Mi.” However, nods to the Lee’s Sandwiches' historical roots and Vietnamese heritage remain intact. A wall blurb shares the Le family's history, and a striking mural of the historic town of Hoian, complete with traditional Vietnamese lanterns, adorns the space.
Thang, the youngest of nine siblings, initially had no plans to join the family business. After college, his family persuaded him to reconsider, and he eventually agreed. However, Thang wanted to do things his way, adding a bit of modern flair to his business approach.
New changes such as adding vegan items to the menu, are something he has been proud of. The Vegan Lemon Grass Chicken is one of his favorite’s dishes from Lee’s Sandwiches vegan line.
“I’ve always wanted to modernize Lee’s Sandwiches and make it more approachable to everyone, not just the Asian Market. We love our Vietnamese customers and our Asian customers; they have been our bread and butter.” Said Le “But I want to bring Banh Mi to the masses. Just as how the burrito has become so famous everywhere you go, I want Banh Mi to be the same.”
Thang's vision extends beyond the traditional Asian audience, and Santa Clara Square was the natural next step. Situated amidst the dynamic landscape of Silicon Valley tech professionals, local Santa Clara residents, students, and a continuous influx of out-of-town visitors, this location provides a gateway for fresh faces to discover and embrace the Lee’s Sandwich brand.
If you find yourself in Santa Clara, we invite you to visit Lee’s Sandwiches and experience Thang’s unique vision firsthand. Discover for yourself what makes this dining destination truly exceptional.
What's on the Discover Santa Clara team's plate?
Ben Landis, Marketing Manager’s Go to Order:
He gets the unstoppable #1 Lee's Combination Banh Mi paired with a Vietnamese Iced Coffee. (ProTip: Ask for that extra-strong brew if you're in dire need of a caffeine rocket launch!)
Katelyn Studebaker, Director of Marketing’s Go to Order:
Her signature combo? The fabulous #6 BBQ Pork Bahn Mi with a French baguette, and for a twist, she adds a side of curry, because why not spice up life and lunch?
Lee’s Sandwiches Santa Clara Address: 3243 Coronado Pl Santa Clara, CA 95054
Introducing “Savoring Santa Clara,” an exciting new series brought to you by the Discover Santa Clara team. In this series, we will be shining a spotlight on noteworthy restaurants in Santa Clara that we believe deserve your attention.
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