Banh mi take-out restaurant opens bakery in Pineville, NC

Lula's grilled pork banh mi.

Lula’s grilled pork banh mi.

Banh mi on homemade Vietnamese baguette. Hot and crispy chicken wings and spring rolls. Is there anything better? Now there’s a new takeout outlet in Pineville called Lula Bahn Mi & Bakery, where you can get all of that – plus dessert.

You’ll find the restaurant in the Centrum Mall across from the Carolina Place Mall – the same area where the international grocery store and Super G Mart food hall are slated to open soon.

It’s a family affair. Owner Kacie Nguyen and her husband, Tony, opened the store in mid-July. The Fort Mill School District tech specialist and former network engineer named the store Lula after a combination of their mothers’ names, Luu and Lan.

“We wanted to pay tribute to the two women whose love and talent in the kitchen inspired us. They taught us that food is about connection, tradition and memories. We love that our food brings families together and brings back fond memories of childhood and home for so many,” said Kacie Nguyen.

The Nguyens’ school-aged sons, Peyton and Cohen, also participate — as do their niece and nephew — taking orders at the counter and chatting with customers who are packing the space.

FOOD: Lula serves Vietnamese dishes such as banh mi, curry, and noodle bowls, as well as small-batch desserts including cheesecakes, cupcakes, cookies, and macaroons. Breakfast is also available, with standard American choices like bacon or ham, egg and cheese croissants, and Vietnamese options such as hot pate, a savory flaky bun stuffed with meat.

“Everything that goes into our banh mi is homemade, including the Vietnamese baguette; I don’t know of any other banh mi store that does this in our area,” Nguyen said.

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Lula’s desserts include cupcakes, individual cheesecakes and macaroons. Candice Buchanan

WHAT TO TRY: Roasted pork belly banh mi pairs the savory meat with fresh cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot, and a healthy layer of cilantro for crunch. Or savor the lightly breaded chicken wings with fried rice, a comforting pairing that’s exactly what you’d expect. Don’t forget the spring rolls.

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Lula’s spring rolls are stuffed with ground pork, taro, jicama and carrots. Candice Buchanan

THE SPACE: There are no seats yet, but a few tables are on the way. For now, plan for take-out. (And if you can’t wait to get home, you can always park under the shady trees in the mall and eat — like I did.)

THE ATMOSPHERE: The restaurant is bright and cheerful, decorated with a mural by New York artist Steffi Lynn Tsai. (You can also buy her gift cards while you wait for your order.)

Nguyen added, “We want to say thank you to everyone who showed up at the store! Thank you for your patronage, social media posts, likes, shares, reviews, gifts, and patience! It’s so wonderful to finally be able to share our food and our space with our community.

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A bright and inviting mural by New York artist Steffi Lynn Tsai sets the tone for the space. Heidi Finley CharlotteFive

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Drink choices include fountain sodas, sweet tea, and fruit-flavored green teas. Heidi Finley CharlotteFive

HOW TO ORDER: Order online via ToastTab for pickup, or walk in and place an order in person.

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Lula Banh Mi & Bakery is open for take out at 10400 Centrum Parkway, Suite A in Pineville. Heidi Finley CharlotteFive

Lula Banh Mi & Bakery

Location: 10400 Centrum Parkway, Suite A, Pineville, NC 28134

Neighbourhood: Pineville

Menu

Cuisine: Vietnamese cuisine, banh mi, bakery

Opening hours: Closed on Monday. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11am-7pm

Instagram: @lulabanhmi

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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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