When Yoon Bigot opened her first Bon Mi Vietnamese French Cuisine restaurant in downtown Eugene five years ago, she knew she wanted to open another location closer to the University of Oregon campus one day. On Aug. 18, 2017 that day came, and Bigot’s second Bon Mi restaurant opened on E 13th Avenue between Alder and Kincaid Streets.
The new Bon Mi features the same competitively-priced menu items as the downtown location on E Broadway between Oak and Pearl Streets. Pho and noodle soups, banh mi sandwiches, bun vermicelli and salads are the featured items. Nothing on the menu is over $9 and sandwiches are $7.25, except for the $8.25 grilled beef sandwich. Bigot designed a menu that doesn’t overwhelm customers with choices, but maintains enough variety to keep people coming back.
Banh mi sandwiches are a satisfying break from the typical American-style sandwiches that often dominate college students’ lunches. Banh mi is served on a soft french baguette with a choice of marinated, grilled meats or tofu and pickled vegetables.
“I wanted to make comfort food for students,” Bigot said. “Our food is perfect for when it’s raining, which, during the school year, it usually is here.”
When she lived in a primarily Vietnamese neighborhood in Los Angeles with her husband, a UO College of Design alum who majored in architecture, she noticed nearly all the restaurants either served only pho and soups or only sandwiches. Her love of Vietnamese cuisine drove her to open restaurants that served both when her family moved to Eugene.
In addition to traditional pho, which is served with thin rice noodles, herbs and vegetables in beef, chicken, pork or vegetable broth, Bigot is proud to serve a unique curry pho. She said the flavors of rice noodles and vegetables combine well in a warm coconut milk curry.
Although she is delighted by how the new restaurant turned out, Bigot struggled to get the place up and running.
She said she had to redo the hardwood floors three times because of unsatisfactory contractors. That experience prompted her to let her husband design the restaurant’s interior. She also had to build a new kitchen where there used to be a parking lot. But now, Bigot and her hardworking staff are ready for the first year catering to UO students’ appetites.
On a block lined with established restaurants next to the UO campus, Bon Mi will have competition. It closes at 9 p.m. on weekend nights, so it won’t be serving students looking for food after visiting the bars. But Bon Mi looks poised to become a favorite spot for many UO students regardless.
The restaurant is open from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. It’s also a partner of HungryDucks.com, which is a food delivery service in Eugene.