It’s been just over two years since Patrick Lynch and Ali Fong’s Vietnamese concept, Bon Me, was named a winner in the first Boston Food Truck Challenge. In that time, their mobile family has grown with a second truck, and the husband-and-wife team show no signs of braking soon. In fact, they’re taking a new road. Come mid-January, Bon Me’s first stand-still location opens in Kendall Square—a fitting space for a kitchen born of a competition to promote innovation.
“We’re really excited to be able to operate on this side of the river,” says Lynch, who’s been food-trucking full-time since Bon Me’s debut in April 2011. “The big upside of the restaurant is that we have that long-term outlook. We’re able to really invest in an area, which is a little tough for trucks.”
The new menu is largely based on the truck’s dishes—bahn mi sandwiches, soba or rice noodle salads and rice bowls topped with Asian veggies and a choice of spice-rubbed chicken, barbeque pork or tofu and shiitake mushrooms. But Fong, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America and worked for Patricia Yeo at Sapa in New York, wants to explore the benefits of a stationary kitchen. “Having a brick-and-mortar location means we can do things that we can’t do on the truck,” she explains.
Fong’s experimenting with daily specials and sides like mustard greens with chili oil and kabocha squash soup. “We’re going to ramp up a lot of our vegetarian and vegan options,” she adds. A new pâté for the bahn mi will also debut. Developed by an employee for a class, the mushroom-based vegan spread gives veg-head diners a similar Bon Me experience to their carnivorous counterparts.
With an order-at-the-counter setup and food ready in minutes, the restaurant seats 15–20 and another 10 outside during warmer months.
Setting up shop doesn’t mean anything is slowing down for Lynch and Fong, who are already thinking ahead to more mobile possibilities. The plan is to just keep on truckin’.
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge | 617-864-0421 | bonmetruck.com