Pilsen’s daring new Vietnamese restaurant, HaiSous, has been open since June and the restaurant is immediately enjoying success, earning a Michelin Bib Gourmand. But owners Thai and Danielle Dang aren’t finished feeding the neighborhood. Their attached cafe and bar, Cà Phê Dá (pronounced “café dah”), is open to serve coffee from Thai Dang’s family in Vietnam and snacks like banh mi sandwiches. They see the venue as a place to serve kitchen workers from other restaurants — they’re open until midnight every day. It’s another way the Dangs continue to flourish, turning the page on their last employers, the fugitive owners of Embeya.
Thai Dang’s family have roasted coffees for 30 years, and Cà Phê Dá uses that imported coffee for various drinks including slushies, coffee with vanilla egg custard, and the cafe’s signature namesake iced coffee. Customers can enjoy their caffeinated drinks with fresh pastries including bánh kem dừa (coconut bun), bánh trái vải (lychee danish), and bánh lá dứa (pandan brioche).
Banh mi will be available all day, as Thai Dang is excited to showcase authentic flavors from home. He’ll serve roasted pork, grilled chicken, grilled beef, vegetarian versions, and a combo. Customers can also add a fried egg to their sandwiches.
While HaiSous’s dinner offerings are unique from the cafe’s menu, Cà Phê Dá will offer special heartier items only available after 5 p.m. There’s grilled clams, fried wings, and a roast cashew with caramelized duck skin. They’ll also have a rotating “workers” meal for $10 that consists of a protein, rice, veggie, and drink.
Danielle Dang is handling the alcoholic drinks. Their bar is stocked with 15 bottles of liquor. They’ll also an assortment of five crushed ice drinks, called Đá Đập. Dang described them as similar to American smashes.
The Dangs plan to project chef-driven movies and documentaries on the cafe’s exposed brick wall, Danielle Dang said. The husband and wife want to give back to Chicago’s culinary community. Affordability and accessibility are important to them. Thai Dang believes a quality meal should not have to wait for a special occasion.
Cà Phê Dá has the potential to be one of the more-unique spots in Chicago. Check it out starting today, just around the corner from HaiSous main entrance.
Cà Phê Dá, 1800 1⁄2 S. Carpenter Street, open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight