By Bao Nguyen
January 25, 2018
What do you do when your plate is already full running a restaurant & catering business, leading a nonprofit organization, serving as Co-Chair of Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Committee, and raising two kids? According to Taylor Hoang, you open another restaurant. Make that two…because why not?
The first to open, Maxwella Café & Bar, named after Taylor’s two kids Maxwell and Ella, is a departure from her long family history of serving Vietnamese delicacies at Huong Binh restaurant and the Pho Cyclo chain. But don’t mistake this for an ad-hoc impulse to do something different. Maxwella’s concept represents Taylor’s long-incubated vision of creating a space in which “simplicity is cherished, time slows, and conversations start.”
Even as she juggles her professional responsibilities as a business owner and Executive Director of Ethnic Business Coalition, the nonprofit organization under which Ethnic Seattle operates, Taylor never lets a good opportunity goes uncaptured. Seeing the chance to bring good coffee, artisan pastries, and delicious food to her neighborhood on the Eastside, Taylor approached Maxwella as an expression of her creativity in design, concept, and food development.
“It was really fun to conceptualize the restaurant,” she says. “It really pushed me out of my comfort zone.”
The space is open and bright, with a homey ambience which Taylor hopes will make patrons feel like they’re in their living room or kitchen. On the menu are familiar American fares like eggs benedict and pastries for breakfast, various soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch, and entrée options for dinner include a lamb burger, New York steak, seafood bouillabaisse, several pasta dishes, among others.
Any worry that Taylor might be done with Vietnamese cuisine is dispelled with a peek next door to Maxwella. Soon to open (Feb 27th) is District One, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant showing that her roots are never far behind in anything she does. The one-two punch alone is enough to make any restaurateur shudder but Taylor has it all under control.