Burnsville couple reaches 1 year in Albert Lea’s Northbridge Mall

Published 10:17 am Monday, February 13, 2017

Venturing into the food business is a big risk. According to recent studies, one in every four restaurants close or change names within the first year. The number jumps to three in five in year three.

But for Vy Do and Duong Nguyen, natives of Vietnam, they are coming up on their first full year in the restaurant business. Last February, the couple opened D+V’s Kitchen in the food court of Northbridge Mall, which features Vietnamese and Chinese dishes.

“We have a mix of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes,” Do said. “But we tend to lead more towards the Vietnamese side of things.”

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Do said the major difference between Vietnamese and Chinese food is the sauce.

“Chinese food uses soy sauce in a lot of its dishes,” Do said. “Vietnamese food uses more fish sauce. Also, the way the foods are prepared is a little different.”

Food culture is big in Vietnam, and the couple is making sure they put time and effort into each dish they serve. Fresh ingredients are at the top of that list.

“Fresh ingredients are important,” Do said. “It’s also important that each order is made with care and to order. A customer may wait 15 minutes, but they’ll be getting hot and fresh food when it’s done. And the customer will be able to taste all the flavor of the dish because of the ingredients.”

Do said the kitchen’s most popular dishes are the fried rice and lo mein, which is served with a soft egg noodle and stir fried with vegetables and meat. But Do said their best seller depends on the day.

Owning a restaurant means long hours and extreme dedication. Do and Nguyen live in Burnsville and make the trip down to Albert Lea Tuesday through Sunday.

“It’s a long drive, but my husband and I both like to drive,” Do said with a smile.

They opened their venture in Albert Lea after seeing an advertisement for the space.

In the future, Do and Nguyen hope to open a full-service restaurant, but Do said she isn’t thinking too far ahead just yet. Before opening D+V’s Kitchen, Do worked in restaurants as a waitress, and Nguyen worked as a cook. But Do said both would like to gain more experience.

“I don’t like to think ahead,” Do said. “We are just taking it day by day. We both need to keep gaining experience. Working in Albert Lea is helping us do that. And we both really enjoy it.”