7 Leaves: Vietnamese American Entrepreneurs
By Vikki Vargas and Camille Meggs Published May 14, 2018 at 12:10 AM
NBC continues to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by highlighting what some call an “Asian Starbucks” with its roots in Southern California’s Little Saigon.
The Nguyens have been called the “North Star of Little Saigon” because they are constantly lighting the way for the others.
Sonny Nguyen is one of seven “Leaves” who made a millennial coffee shop the equivalent of Asian Starbucks. The other six leaves are his brothers, a brother-in-law and a long-time family friend, and eight years ago, the group that launched the 7 Leaves Café were working in finance, law and technology.
Nguyen says, “There’s that saying, ‘It’s lonely at the top,’ and it was true for all of us, and I think ‘Q’ was the first one to say, ‘I need a break.'”
“Q” is Sonny Nguyen’s brother, Quan, who traveled the world and brought back uncommon tastes like Mung Bean from his time in Indian, Korea, Vietnam and beyond.
“The passion that drives us today is, no. 1, for the community we want to show them a different experience to connect the world because each one of our drinks comes from a different country,” Sonny Nguyen says.
A meal at a Vietnamese restaurant introduced Sonny Nguyen and his brothers to the struggling owner, Viet Nguyen, who was only months away from closing the doors to his restaurant. Viet Nguyen’s Vox Kitchen started with traditional pho and then decided to expand to shaking beef with French fires and a healthy helping of friendly service.