Tiny Vientiane Cafe Set to Double in Size

After nearly ten years of offering high-end Laotian and Thai cuisine for reasonable prices, neighborhood restaurant Vientiane Cafe is eyeing an expansion.

From a distance

But manager Sunny Phanthavong says she is not sure when. The timing keeps changing. That’s because Vientiane, located on the 4700 block of Baltimore Avenue, cannot expand next door to 4726 Baltimore Ave. until current tenant Mariposa Food Co-op relocates to its new location up the block. That date has been pushed back a number of times, with the most recently predicted mid-February opening date coming and going without the move taking place.

Nevertheless, as part of the (eventual) expansion, Vientiane will add thirty new seats, making for a total of fifty in the establishment. They will also add two outdoor tables, complete minor interior renovations and change the menu up a little. The revised menu will include new appetizers and entrees, like the vegetarian dish Laos Bamboo Stew. That’s a wild bamboo stew with wild mushrooms, butternut squash, lemongrass and chilies. Sounds wild.

Mmmm Laotian... Image from: Drinkphilly.com

“We took the opportunity because Mariposa is leaving,” says Phanthavong. “If they weren’t gonna leave, we weren’t gonna expand.”

Phanthavong says Vientiane will maintain its warm, homey interior feel, as it veers away from anything that’s too modern or contemporary. It will also still be a BYOB. We’re pleased to see a neighborhood business last for a decade and do so while providing hearty low cost meals that are really delicious. We hope their expansion is a success. And we recommend the Pad Kee Mao. Yum.

As for Mariposa, we’ll let ya know when they get things in order and finally open their new doors. They’re saying next month, but we’ve heard that one before.

–Lou Mancinelli