Baguette Box on Capitol Hill.

Photo by Nick Feldman.

Months before Ba Bar would open on 12th Avenue, Eric and Sophie Banh were quietly arranging the sale of Baguette Box on Pine Street to help finance their new Vietnamese restaurant.

The handover occurred “back in February or March,” says Eric, but the news has remained largely under wraps. The current owner is Edward So, a recent transplant from Korea. Eric says he retains ownership of the Baguette Box in Fremont. (Here it’s worth noting the Banhs also own and operate Monsoon and Monsoon East.)

“I never intend to sell my businesses. I tried to stall it, stall it, stall it.” But as projected expenses for Ba Bar doubled, what was envisioned as a “small-budget noodle house” grew into something more—a detail-oriented person opening a restaurant does not a cheap venture make. Plans for IKEA-style furnishings and decor fizzled and in came a “glamorous” bar setup, for example.

So when So approached with an offer, the siblings sold.

“But that name is still part of us,” Eric notes of the banh mi operation, which, new owners aside, is exactly as it’s always been. He regularly checks in and so far is pleased with the transition. “They love Baguette Box,” Eric says of So and his wife. “I didn’t want some absentee owner. They are there ten hours a day.”

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