Dennis Ngo grew up in Houston, Texas, home to one of the largest Vietnamese communities in the country. From a young age, Ngo ate traditional foods prepared by recent immigrants using the ingredients available to them in Houston, which would later influence his Vietnamese-American style of cuisine. While on sabbatical from his career as an information systems consultant, he began cooking and decided to transition to the culinary world.
In 2009, he helped open An Choi, a bánh mì and pho-centric shop in the Lower East Side with brothers Tuan and Huy Bui as an early entrant in the city’s burgeoning Vietnamese scene. Phuoc Huynh, a chef who got his start working under Dennis Ngo, went on to open Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen in Bushwick, further expanding the city’s Vietnamese dining scene. In 2012, Ngo founded Lonestar Empire, a Texas-style smoked brisket operation that can be found at the Smorgasburg weekly food festival in Brooklyn. In 2018, Ngo along with the Buis and partner Kim Hoang opened Di An Di, a contemporary Vietnamese-American restaurant in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. His take on traditional pho and modern bánh tráng nướng, or Vietnamese pizza, has earned the restaurant critical acclaim.
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award