Les Givral’s, the longtime Midtown Vietnamese restaurant known for its affordable banh mi sandwiches, has temporarily closed for renovations.
Staci Le, part of Les Givral’s management team, told Eater in an email on Monday afternoon that the restaurant is currently in the process of doing repairs that were required by the city. She expects the restaurant to be closed for three or four months. A search for construction permits issued by Harris County does not show any results for Les Givral’s exact address.
A Twitter user first noted the closure, with photos showing a “for lease” sign on the doors of a property at 2704 Milam Street. (Initially identified as the Les Givral’s storefront, the lease sign is actually advertising a neighboring space once home to Red Pier Asian Bistro.) Previously, Yelpers reported that the restaurant was closed temporarily for remodeling. As of Friday, the Les Givral’s windows were covered in black tarp, and no one was working at the business.
Les Givral’s is known for its pho and affordable banh mi, which cost less than five dollars. Pre-pandemic, the line during lunch was often long, as Downtown workers flooded the cash-only restaurant for inexpensive and quick eats.
Les Givral’s has a convoluted history. The first location opened in Bellaire in 1988 and the Milam location followed, opening in the early 1990s. According to food writer Robb Walsh, the restaurant’s original founder, whose name was Hoang, had to sell the Midtown location to pay some gambling debts.
By 2001, a woman named Nga Chung was running the restaurant when a massive fire broke out. The Midtown spot was closed for many months while undergoing repairs, and during that time, a dispute with the landlord led to the departure of Chung, according to the Houston Press. Chung also founded Cali Sandwiches, which is still open at 2800 Travis St., just a few blocks away from the Milam spot.
Les Givral’s was one of the first Vietnamese restaurants to open in Midtown, in an area that would later be dubbed Little Saigon. Since then, banh mi have become a staple of Houston’s Viet-Cajun cuisine, with restaurants like Yelo and Roostar putting creative spins on the classic sandwich.
Correction, June 21, 2:15 p.m.: A representative for Les Givral’s confirms to Eater that the restaurant is not permanently closed, but is undergoing a renovation that will take several months. The story has been updated to reflect that new information. Eater regrets the error.
Clarification, June 21, 11:02 a.m.: This story has been updated with additional details regarding the closure, including addressing that the for lease sign was not on the Les Givral’s space as previously stated, and to clarify an inaccuracy regarding Les Givral’s Kahve.