La Grange to get first Vietnamese restaurant in December

LA GRANGE – The village's first Vietnamese restaurant will open in December and feature a nationally-renowned chef.

Quoc Long, former chef de cuisine at Le Colonial in Chicago, will cook up traditional Vietnamese dishes, including noodle soups, duck, fish and even sandwiches at O Mai La Grange, which is scheduled to open before the holidays in El Picante's current spot.

El Picante owner Tony Soto said there was too much competition among Mexican restaurants in downtown La Grange (namely Santiago's and Casa Margarita). 

Soto and his wife, Thipi Thai owner Tarnthip Kunuparkarn, are developing the new restaurant, which will open for lunch and dinner and feature a seasonal menu that changes about twice a year. Because of Vietnam's French influence, O Mai will feature rolls, sandwiches and other breads in addition to noodle and soup-based dishes. 

"Asian food is usually similar, but Vietnamese is not too spicy," Kunuparkarn said. 

The menu will feature plenty of meat, including a beef soup Kunuparkarn expects will be popular. Like Thipi Thai, O Mai will include a full bar. 

El Picante will close in early November as Soto and Kunuparkarn remodel the interior for O Mai.