Sắp Sửa opened its doors in June of this year, marking the success of husband-and-wife team Ni and Anna Nguyen. Since their initial encounter, the two knew they were meant to be life partners and had already formed culinary dreams. They just had to do a little research first.
“We had a vision of what we wanted our restaurant to be, and we needed to work in restaurants that would help us hone that vision,” Ni told 303 Magazine when the restaurant first opened.
In 2020, the restaurant had its beginning with a ghost kitchen in Longmont, serving traditional Vietnamese takeout. When brainstorming names, “Sắp Sửa” came to mind.
“We were trying to come up with a name, and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we called it Sap Sua? Because we are about to be a restaurant. If we have this mindset that we’re about to be the best, but we’re not the best, then we’ll never get complacent,” Ni reflected to 303 Magazine.
Sắp Sửa translates to ‘almost’ or ‘about to be.’ But with the recent news, it’s safe to say the duo has officially made it.
The restaurant gained national recognition early, named one of Bon Appétit’s eight most anticipated openings of summer 2023 in early June. Now, it holds the title of one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America, 2023 – an anticipated list published on November 28. It was the only restaurant from Colorado that placed this year and was the first Denver restaurant to attain such a status.
The magazine highlighted Sắp Sửa’s beloved bắp cải luộc, a savory dish with charred cabbage, anchovy breadcrumbs and egg yolk. “After work, Ni Nguyen’s mother, Hien, was exhausted. Her son remembers the simple dinner she would prepare: boiled cabbage with fish sauce and egg yolk dressing, a dish called bắp cải luộc,” Esquire commented. “They’ve made their moms proud.”
As for the future, Denver’s gearing up to see what’s next for these culinary masterminds. But for now, stop into Sắp Sửa to try the nationally recognized dish, along with the rest of its masterful menu.
Sap Sua is located at 550 East Colfax Ave, Denver. It is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4:30 – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4:30 – 10 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday.
All photography courtesy of Casey Wilson.