Owner Jimmy and his partner Panos run and operate the popular Vietnamese restaurant Vua, a sandwich shop located on the corner of University and President-Kennedy. They specialize in banh mi sandwiches, a blend of French baguette and Vietnamese ingredients, creating what Jimmy calls “explosive flavours that have people instantly hooked.” Although the establishment is well-known amongst business people, Vua is looking to gain a larger student-based clientele to prove that their food can be loved by those of all ages.
Jimmy is a McGill graduate who knew from the beginning that he wanted to be a restaurant owner. He was fascinated by the craft of creating delicious food and opened up his first restaurant at just 21. Curious about culinary cultures, he continues to believe that there are no limitations to creating and putting your own unique spin on food you are passionate about.
The moment you try a banh mi sandwich once, you are sure to be a repeat customer, going back not only for the food and the cheap prices but for the wonderful staff as well.
The first Vua location at 1579 Rue St Denis was a small hole in the wall that drew in huge crowds. Jimmy saw a great deal of potential in the banh mi sandwich shop concept and decided to open his own in the heart of downtown. One of his biggest hopes is that McGill students venture to Vua with a want to try food that may be out of their comfort zone and learn about cuisine they are not particularly used to, like he did. Students may be hesitant to try it at first, but are guaranteed not to be disappointed once they do. Vua offers 29 different types of sandwiches, 15 of which are Vietnamese and the rest are American-style sandwiches. For students who may want to indulge in something other than a sandwich, Vua also offers items ranging from bubble teas, smoothies, soups to salads, sushi, and ready-made meals.
Price is one of the most enticing aspects of Vua. There are few places in Montreal that offer high quality food at such a discount. Since Vua offers such an amazing bang for your buck, the owners hope that this will convince first-year students to dine off campus, as they rarely explore the frontier beyond the rez dining hall. Jimmy wanted to open a store that would deliver on quantity as well as quality and because he was once part of the McGill community, he knows how important that is to students. Not only is Vua located in the heart of downtown just a block away from McGill, it often times comes to campus to offer catering services, servicing events such as last year’s frosh, giving students a little taste of what they may be missing.
The staff at Vua place a large emphasis on seeing customers as their friends and they hope to have a tangible impact on McGill students’ college experience.The moment you try a banh mi sandwich once, you are sure to be a repeat customer, going back not only for the food and the cheap prices but for the wonderful staff as well.
Regardless of whether you are in first year or fourth year, delicious sandwiches so close to campus are something every student can appreciate.
Jimmy is in the process of expanding and opening up another location at the Alexis Nihon mall on Atwater Avenue to give those on Montreal’s West Side a taste of what they are missing downtown. In the future, Jimmy hopes to open up a Vua shop close to every university in major cities. He achieved his dream of opening a business as a newly graduated university student and attributes his success to his motto, “never put your head down, strive for the best and believe in yourself.” He emphasizes that anything is possible if you are truly passionate about it, especially McGill students, who have a world of possibilities in front of them. If owning a restaurant is your passion, Jimmy’s success story should be enough to pursue your dreams. If you are just looking to try something new and tasty for lunch, Vua’s slogan describes what every millennial can agree on, “eat well, live well.”
Regardless of whether you are in first year or fourth year, delicious sandwiches so close to campus are something every student can appreciate. If you’re debating between having French or Vietnamese food for lunch this week, get the best of both worlds and have a banh mi sandwich from Vua.