New Orleans-inspired food truck Big Easy opens shop in Northside
RICHMOND, Va. — A year after rolling into Richmond, a New Orleans-inspired food truck is firing up a brick-and-mortar location in the city’s Northside.
Manchu, which serves up a mix of soul food and Vietnamese dishes, is preparing to fill a 1,200-square-foot storefront at 2914 North Ave. in the Brookland Park neighborhood. It’s targeting an early fall opening.
The Richmond Manchu is owned by Marvin Nguyen and his parents Kevin Nguyen and Jenny Cao, who brought the concept here from New Orleans.
“I grew up down there, and my dad helped my uncle Tommy launch the Manchu location in New Orleans about 35 years ago,” Marvin said. “We wanted to introduce the concept to Richmond, so we decided to do the food truck, and it quickly grew.”
Nestled on the edge of New Orleans’ Seventh Ward, the original Manchu has become a dining institution with locals in the surrounding neighborhoods – even garnering national attention by visiting chefs and celebrities, and its brief cameos in videos for the city’s growing “bounce music” scene.
The Nguyens launched the food truck here about one year ago, with a menu that includes its ghost pepper and sticky garlic-fried chicken wings, spring rolls and Banh Mi sandwiches.
The move into Brookland Park was spurred in part by neighborhood developer and landlord Kyle Johnston trying the food from Manchu’s truck, getting to know Marvin Nguyen and then trying the food at the New Orleans outpost while on a trip down south.
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