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Omnivore - A visit to Ca Dao

Gossip about Bien Thuy's former owner

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  • Cliff Bostock
  • Burnt rice with grilled pork



Image

  • Cliff Bostock
  • Giant summer rolls

I was all alone on Friday evening and, as usual when that's the case, I headed out Buford Highway to see what might be new. I landed at Ca Dao (4166 Buford Hwy., 404-982-0700), a Vietnamese restaurant in the location of the very short-lived but very well reviewed Bamboo Grill and Hot Pot. It's been open two weeks.

My meal was delicious if a bit surreal. When I arrived, the restaurant, which is quite large, was completely empty. About halfway through my meal, a family came in and greeted the owners excitedly. It was obvious that the Ca Dao owners operated another restaurant.

I asked the owner for the story when he came by my table. He explained that he and his wife owned a pho restaurant farther down the road for 17 years. He said that his landlord raised his rent astronomically and, with business declining due to the recession, he decided to move to this new location. I asked why Bamboo Grill had closed. "No business," he said. I looked around at the empty dining room. He laughed.

He told me he expected his customers to follow him to the new location. He put a sign on the door of the closed restaurant and the landlord removed it.

He also told me that before opening his pho restaurant he operated the first Vietnamese restaurant in Atlanta, also called Ca Dao. Then he told me something that shocked me.