The char siu xiu mai banh mi sandwich at Yelo.

After a year of waiting and a praised pop-up, Yelo is ready to greet you. The collaboration between chefs Cuc Lam and Alex Au-Yeung of Phat Eatery is now open at 23119 Colonial Pkwy, #B-3, at Katy Asian Town.

In the year since Yelo was announced, it has undergone a transformation primarily because of the state of dining affairs. What was once meant to be a Vietnamese diner is now a fast-casual stop for gourmet banh mi sandwiches, plus vermicelli bowls, rice bowls, snacks, coffee, and juices. You can get a grab-and-go item or have a made-to-order sandwich at a two-top or counter seat.

The changes reflect a change in the wants and needs of diners, specifically during the Covid-19 pandemic. It also makes Yelo easily replicable.

"It’s a wonderful, happy brand that speaks for itself, and that takes a lot of the pressure off of me. When a brand is not centered around one person, you’re doing it right," said Lam in a press release. "And, of course, you want the food to taste good and be consistent, but the part of it that we want to make sure we deliver consistently is customer service, making our guests feel comfortable and valued. As long as we can say we made that effort, we're happy."

Lam was previously seen putting in regular work at the now-shuttered Sing. At Yelo she'll fill up her banh mi sandwiches with homemade pâté and garlic aioli, plus herbs and produce sourced from Happy Farms of Texas in Katy. She had the opportunity to test some of her creations when Yelo joined Phat Eatery in a pop-up ghost kitchen during the fall; the reaction to her char siu xiu mai banh mi sandwich, featuring barbecue-marinated pork meatballs, was strong. We also liked the pho-rench dip banh mi sandwich.

You can also get chili crab rangoon, mango papaya shrimp spring rolls, and a kid's option with a half banh mi sandwich, prawn chips, and a drink. Beverages include ube and pandan lattes, Vietnamese iced coffee, and five fresh-pressed juices.

Yelo is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Visit yelohtx.com to pre-order.

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