A Roseville family of foodies is reimagining fast-casual cuisine with fresh ingredients, made-from-scratch pastries, and the bold and bright flavors that nod to their Vietnamese roots.
Mi-Sant opened in Roseville in the spring of 2021 serving Asian-inspired noodle bowls, French pastries, and banh mi sandwiches, which fuse together those two delicious traditions.
In fact, their name Mi-Sant is a play on their two most popular items: banh mi and croissants.
“We make everything from scratch,” said co-owner Linh Nguyen. “We make everything to order. We don’t use preservatives. It's very fresh. But we also wanted to present it in a way that people could get the food quickly but still maintain the integrity and quality.”
It’s the second location the family has started. The first Mi-Sant opened in Brooklyn Park in a remodeled KFC in 2018 and quickly created a buzz, even garnering a mention in the New York Times.
The family purchased the former Baker’s Square site, at 1881 Highway 36 in Roseville, right before Covid-19 became national news. They had an option to cancel the sale, but took the risk to continue at the Roseville site. Now, customers line up outside most mornings to purchase their buttery, lighter-than-air croissants, coffees and teas.
Lunch and dinner customers stop in for noodle bowls, spring rolls and banh mi sandwiches, made with a choice of meat, jalapeño, cilantro, cucumber, pickled daikons, and carrots on a French baguette.
Customers who order at the counter can either carry out their meals or find a seat in the brightly remodeled dining room.
Mi-Sant isn’t simply a fusion of flavors. It’s also the coming together of two entrepreneurial immigrant families. The restaurants were started by married couple Quoc Le and Kim Loan Nguyen and Kim’s sister Linh Nguyen.
Kim and Linh Nguyen’s parents immigrated from Vietnam to the United States and owned a successful Vietnamese grocery and deli in St. Cloud for decades. One of their specialties was the banh mi sandwich. Kim Nguyen would regularly drive to St. Paul to pick up fresh French baguettes at the legendary Trung Nam French Bakery on University Avenue.
The bakery owner’s son Quoc Le loaded the bread into Kim’s truck. Sparks flew. The couple married in 2010 and now have four children.
Both of the Nguyen sisters earned their bachelor’s degrees in finance. Linh Nguyen landed a corporate job in downtown Minneapolis, but she found herself drawn back into the family business. The sisters and Quoc Le began brainstorming and they came up with Mi-Sant.
Initially, the women’s parents expressed trepidation about their daughters following them into the food business.
“My parents knew how hard running a business was. My mom never wanted us to do it because she wanted us to have an easy life. She spent most of her life working. Her biggest regret was not spending more time with us,” Linh Nguyen said. “But for us. It's working on something we are passionate about.”
The three owners say Mi-Sant is a tribute to their parents’ years of hard work and homage to their craft.
All three owners along with other members of their extended family have moved to Roseville.
“My family likes to flock together. We have a lot of children in our family and we wanted to pick a city that was good for them,” Linh said. “I love this area. I love that it’s so close to Minneapolis and St. Paul, but you still have that suburban feel. It’s really a sweet spot."
Mi-Sant is located at 1881 MN-36, Roseville. Learn more at Mi-Sant.com