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Short and Sweet boba, banh mi shop to open in Rosemary Cafe site in downtown Vancouver

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Linda Mouy, left, holds daughter Nina, 3, while her husband, Sonny, holds their other daughter, Isla, 1, as they talk about Short and Sweet, a boba, mochi doughnut, and banh mi shop they are creating in the former location of Rosemary Cafe.
Linda Mouy, left, holds daughter Nina, 3, while her husband, Sonny, holds their other daughter, Isla, 1, as they talk about Short and Sweet, a boba, mochi doughnut, and banh mi shop they are creating in the former location of Rosemary Cafe. (Photos by Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Boba lovers, banh mi mavens and mochi doughnut denizens will soon have a new downtown spot to savor their culinary obsessions.

Short and Sweet will open in the former Rosemary Cafe space in downtown Vancouver by mid-July, serving banh mi sandwiches, boba tea, mochi doughnuts and weekend soup specials like pho in the bright renovated space at 1001 Main St.

The name Short and Sweet comes from a boba place in Austin, Texas, that Linda Mouy visited regularly while living in the Lone Star State. Her favorite drink there was called the krazy drink — winter melon juice with an assortment of jellies and puddings. She plans on offering a similar beverage at her boba business, as well as other items not easily found in Vancouver, like Asian dessert drinks and avocado smoothies.

Linda Mouy’s love of all things sweet drew her husband, Sonny, to the sweet side of life.

“I didn’t have a sweet tooth until I met her,” he said, lovingly gazing at his wife while holding their 1-year-old daughter, Isla.

Linda’s sweet tooth may have influenced the menu, but Sonny Mouy’s experience growing up and then running his family’s restaurants brings a business perspective to the project.

Sonny Mouy’s mom died in 2009. He was only 19 years old but took over the family business with his brother. When he moved on to work for AT&T, he never wanted to run a restaurant again. But when the couple had their two daughters Isla, 1, and Nina, 3, Sonny became interested in following his parents’ example of creating a business to support his family and help other people support their families.

“I told myself that I’d never get back into the restaurant business, but then I thought about my girls and I wanted to build a business for them the way my parents did,” he said.

Sonny Mouy’s parents immigrated from Cambodia and started a chain of Chinese fast-food restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. They used the restaurants to bring other Cambodians to the United States to work and to start their own businesses. Mouy wants to use his business to help others and build community.

Linda Mouy’s aunt owns a banh mi restaurant in Vietnam and is helping develop the sandwich menu. Linda Mouy has been to Vietnam many times to visit her family. During those trips, she fell in love with these popular sandwiches.

“When I was in Vietnam, I just ate banh mi sandwiches,” she said.

To learn the tricks of the professional boba trade, the couple attended boba school at Fanale in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gianni Singharaj, who started a popular mochi doughnut pop-up in Portland during the pandemic, taught them how to make mochi doughnuts.

At Short and Sweet, customers will find doughnut flavors like Nutella, churro, and ube with roasted coconut. Six regular recipes will be available, along with a rotation of seasonal confections. The food and drink offerings will shift based on feedback from customers.

Pop of orange

The former Rosemary Cafe location will be transformed into a clean, white space with a pop of orange — the company’s signature color that can be found on the logo posted on their Instagram page (@shortnsweet360). Benches run along the long side wall leading to a cozy lounging area, and a social media wall.

Mochi doughnuts won’t be offered until August or September. In order to fry the doughnuts, the Mouys need a hood for the kitchen. Designing the hood space and finding the equipment was complicated by the fact that the restaurant is registered as an historic building and ventilation tubes can’t come out the side of the building.

After extensive research, the Mouys found a custom hood that works in the space. Unfortunately, it isn’t available until late summer at the earliest.

Despite complications and setbacks, the Mouys look forward to opening their restaurant and sharing their favorite food with the downtown Vancouver community.

“This business is focused on community involvement,” said Sonny Mouy. “We chose this spot because we want to be part of downtown.”

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