At peak lunch hour, the line is out the door at Cam Huong in Oakland Chinatown. That’s because locals know that they can get reliably good banh mi, noodles and noodle soups, steam tray items and desserts for dirt cheap at this small Vietnamese counter-order café, which first opened in 1985. Yesterday, news quickly spread that the family-owned and operated business will close its doors at 920 Webster St. after service today.
Nosh first spoke with a worker on the phone at Cam Huong Bakery, located a couple blocks away at 1088 Webster St., who confirmed that the sister restaurant will close because the owner is retiring. The bakery will remain open and the staffer said that it will offer banh mi, rice plates, noodle dishes and an abbreviated menu of the café offerings after the closure; unfortunately because the bakery’s kitchen is too small, it will not be able to serve some popular items, like egg rolls and fried rice. Cam Huong Café in East Oakland (702 International Blvd.), which is run by the owner’s daughter, will also remain open.
Moments later, we spoke with the restaurant owner, Huong Luu, who sounded happy on her last day in business. “I work too long; I work 38 years non-stop,” she said about why she decided to close. That, and her lease is coming to an end. She urged Cam Huong customers to visit the restaurant on International Blvd. “I’ll be there sometimes.”
Cam Huong Restaurant is open tonight until 7 p.m.