Rebuilding with community support
Aug 15, 2013
Established in 1978 by Phin and Phac Nguyen, Mai’s Restaurant was the first Vietnamese restaurant in Houston. When this local landmark was destroyed by an accidental fire in early 2010, the community rallied around its third-generation family owners and encouraged them to rebuild. The restaurant reemerged stronger than ever and today attracts lines of customers at all hours of the day and night.
"After so many years of blood, sweat and tears, I don’t think they knew how to pick up the pieces."
The Nguyens named Mai’s after one of their eight children – the easiest of their names to pronounce. In 1990, it was Mai Nguyen who took over the reins of her parents’ business. She remains very involved in the business today, under the leadership of her own daughter, Anna Pham.
Pham remembers how distraught her mother and grandmother were to see the devastation to the restaurant they had built from the ground up. “After so many years of blood, sweat and tears, I don’t think they knew how to pick up the pieces,” said Pham. She knew it was up to her to rally the family to recover from the tragedy and rebuild.
In addition to Mai’s loyal customers, Bank of America was integral to that effort. Pham credits her client manager, Jose Madrigal, with securing the financing the family needed to rebuild with a second level and expand into a neighboring property. Madrigal connected the family with the products and services they needed and has served as a trusted advisor since. “He was such a key player in trying to get us the best possible loans,” said Pham.
Since Mai’s reopened in April 2011, the family has moved all of their banking over to Bank of America. Pham is pleased by this exclusive relationship. “Bank of America really has been able to answer all of our needs…someone has always been there to assist us.” Madrigal also appreciates their partnership. “They are good people to work with. We try to frequent the restaurant as often as possible.”
Pham attributes the restaurant’s success to the authenticity of the cuisine and the quality of the food they bring to the table. Mai’s stays open into the wee hours of the morning, when dining options are limited, in order to better serve their clientele.
Pham’s connection with Bank of America stems from their shared commitment to hospitality. “It’s our nature to be hospitable; we enjoy catering to people,” she said. She similarly appreciates the bank’s personal touches and quick responses. No doubt Mai’s customers agree.