When co-founder Khanh Dang immigrated to the United States she found herself missing a piece of her native land: the food. Searching with her husband, Dinh, she tried every Vietnamese restaurant she could, but found none that offered the flavor and taste she grew up loving. This longing for true pho blossomed into a vision of bringing genuine flavors of Sai Gon to Atlanta. Coupled with Dinh’s passion for food and cooking, the dream that would become Vietvana took hold.
Simmering questions and challenges to crafting the authentic Sai Gon experience
Even though Vietnamese cuisine was easily found throughout Atlanta, it was missing a truly authentic touch. The problem was that not many people knew that. What they had grown to love as Vietnamese food was, in their mind, authentic. The posed a big challenge for the brand, the team, and Vigor. We had to answer numerous questions: how do we introduce Atlanta to authentic Vietnamese cuisine without insulting what the people already love? How can we communicate the difference and prepare them for the shift in flavor they will inevitably notice? How do we ensure that people don’t develop the perception that this restaurant wasn’t the opposite of genuine? And, finally, how do we communicate the elevated passion for bringing the taste of Sai Gon to the streets of Atlanta?
A transcendent brand and name
Our approach to introducing genuine, authentic cuisine was rooted in a profound purpose held by both Dinh and Khanh, the founders of the restaurant. They felt that fresh cuisine, cooked with a passion for traditions and family recipes can bring people together. Their adoration for travel and cultures seeped into everything they did including how they cooked their beloved cuisine. This heartfelt belief felt transcendent which connected with the Buddhist culture of the Vietnamese people and spawned the name Vietvana.
Vietvana is a portmanteau of Vietnam and nirvana, the ultimate level of transcendence in Buddhism.
Simmering up a taste of today's Sai Gon
The brand’s identity was designed to communicate a curious, urbane, and authentic ideal. From the red stamp icons through the French influence inspired illustrations, the various brand touchpoints throughout the experience culminated in a fresh, unique expression unlike the other Vietnamese restaurants in the area and beyond.
Inside the space, we collaborated with the Office of Design team to accentuate the Vietnamese roots and vibe with decor that evoked authenticity. From actual family photographs of the founders to red-painted Buddha statues, the flavors of Sai Gon were brought to new life with a modern twist.
Vietvana has quickly grown into two locations with more slated over the next few years. Their goal of bringing people together through authentic culture and experiences has been exceeded through our collaborative process and deep understanding of their vision and dream.