Alex Au-Yeung of Phat Eatery is opening a banh mi shop at Katy Asian Town, and he's bringing in a popular Houston chef to help run it.
Yelo, which will do specialty coffee and banh mi next to Phat Eatery, will open late this summer at 23119 Colonial Pkwy., #B-3, serving food all day. Cuc Lam, formerly of the shuttered Sing, will run the show as executive chef.
“I knew I wanted to open a banh mi shop, but I needed to hire an executive chef to run it,” said Au-Yeung in a press release. “The only person I would consider is Cuc Lam. If she wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t do it."
It's the latest move in what's been a fruitful year for Au-Yeung. His Malaysian street food spot Phat Eatery recently expanded but still had 1,500 square feet left to fill. Au-Yeung thought what Katy needed was a good banh mi, and after conversations with restaurateur Thomas Nguyen (Peli Peli), a decision was made. Then Lam, who has been hosting pop-up dinners while working with chef friends like Christine Hà (The Blind Goat) and Evelyn Garcia (Kin), was brought in.
Yelo will have traditional banh mi variations (lemongrass beef or tofu, pork, chicken, meatball), plus banh mi served with a pho broth (like a French dip sandwich) and riffs with influence from across Southeast Asia.
“YELO is a celebration of Southeast Asian food,” says Lam. “The color yellow inspires, uplifts, illuminates and offers hope, happiness, cheerfulness and fun. That’s our mission at YELO. Through recipes from countries like Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand, we want to share the delicious and bold flavors that we love on a simple baguette.”
The space will look like a Vietnamese diner with sushi-bar-style seats, booths, a coffee bar, and an open kitchen. Per the name, there will be a lot of yellow in the design.