Beloved Vietnamese restaurant Saigon House, known for its H-Town Bang Viet-Cajun crawfish drenched in cayenne pepper, garlic, butter, and cilantro, has closed permanently.
The news was posted to Saigon House’s Facebook page on Wednesday, May 12, with a message that read that the restaurant had decided not to resign its lease at 3645 FM 1960.
“Come see me at Xin Chao we also do crawfish on Mondays,” owner Tony Nguyen wrote, a reference to his restaurant with Houston chef Christina Ha.
The past few years have been full of changes for Nguyen and Saigon House. The restaurant originally got its start in Midtown in 2015, where Nguyen developed a loyal following for his Vietnamese seafood and pho served with a Houston flair. In April of 2019, Nguyen announced that he would be opening a second location in Humble on FM 1960. A few months later, while the Humble location was still in the works, Nguyen decided to close down his central Houston location, writing that: “We decided as a team that it wasn’t in our best interest to continue Saigon House at 3101 Main in Midtown.”
The Humble restaurant opened in May 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. With restaurant seating limited due to social distancing guidelines, and many people unwilling to make the drive to the burbs for Nguyen’s cuisine, he decided in August to launch a food truck to bring Saigon House back into the loop, while also promoting his upcoming restaurant with Ha. He also started selling his crawfish through a private Facebook group.
In September of last year, Xin Chao finally opened, serving contemporary Vietnamese food inspired by recipes passed down from both Ha and Nguyen’s families, with locally-sourced Gulf Coast ingredients. (Both chefs are second-generation Vietnamese Americans).
In its first six months, Xin Chao has been hugely popular with Houston diners. Its unclear if Nguyen has any other projects in the works, but as he mentioned on Facebook, H-Town Bang fans can still get crawfish at the Washington Avenue restaurant on Mondays.