Tam Deli has been sold

Nick, Tran and Tam at Tam Deli.
Nick, Tran and Tam at Tam Deli.

This one stings on a personal level. While I don’t interact with many restaurant owners or chefs, I made an exception after I wrote about Tam Deli for the first time. Tam Bui and her sister, Tran Ngoc, are just too thoughtful, sweet and talkative (if you ask the first question) not to engage with. And Tran’s husband, Nick, always played the perfect straight man to the chatty sisters.

I could go eat by myself at Tam Deli and always know that I wouldn’t be alone for long. If I wanted to talk, about my work, my interest in Vietnam or my personal life, the sisters were always a welcome sight. Years before I had this job, they even gave me travel advice for a Vietnamese honeymoon (that fortunately never happened).

Well, all of that is about to change.

After 17 years in business, serving office workers, day laborers and some of the city’s best chefs, Tam Bui has sold her eponymous Vietnamese cafe. The new owners, also Vietnamese, will keep the name and the menu of the cafe, as Bui heads into retirement and Tran and Nick move to Dallas to be closer to their grandchildren.

In addition to restorative bowls of pho and my favorite banh mi in town, Tam Deli also served delicate and rich cream puff pastries that demanded your attention after every meal. Tam and Tran say they will stay on to help the new owners during the transition, so you still have a few mores days (weeks, maybe) to go chat with the sisters, thank them for their service and maybe learn a little bit more about their native Vietnam. They will be greatly missed by myself and a legion of regular customers.

Related: Five sandwiches I love in Austin (2013)

Tam Deli in the Austin360 Dining Guide: 2015 (Critic’s Pick) | 2014 (#24) | 2013 (#18) | 2012 (#14)


Author: Matthew Odam

Restaurant critic & features writer at Austin American @Statesman and @Austin360. Austin-born 6th generation Texan. Left-handed.

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