Making bread is a relatively easy process. There are very few ingredients: a little flour, yeast, some salt, water, and voila…bread! Certainly, there are countless variations on this theme; add a little flavoring, use different kinds of ingredients, but in many ways the essence of bread is its simplicity. The real trick to baking good bread is to understand and master the basics, and for the past 35 years, La Tour Café’s founder and owner Thanh Quoc Lam has been doing just that.
Lam immigrated to the US from Vietnam in 1979 and started in the restaurant business in a slightly unorthodox way. Working as a tour bus driver in central California, Lam noticed many of his passengers grew hungry during his tours, and the opportunistic entrepreneur decided to provide them with sandwiches. The sandwiches were such a hit that Lam and a friend decided to go into the sandwich business together.
The Little Sandwich Shop That Could
Lam moved to Hawaii in the summer of 1984 and realized the growing Vietnamese population in Honolulu’s Chinatown meant there might be a demand for his food. Moving quickly, Lam opened the first Ba-Le sandwich shop in December of 1984 and never looked back.
Since then, Lam’s empire has grown from a single Vietnamese sandwich shop to a multimillion-dollar restaurant chain and bakehouse
. Lam works alongside his two sons Trung and Brandon and continues to expand his company’s reach, establishing relationships with local distributors and stores, as well as partnering with mainland food chains.
Nestled in the shadow of Diamond Head, Lam’s newly constructed 7- bedroom, 4-and-a-half bath home is, in many ways, a reflection of Lam’s attention to detail and forward thinking. Built with the finest materials and appointed with designer appliances, the home is an exquisite blend of beauty and functionality. The custom built, gated home is within walking distance to the crystalline waters off of Diamond Head and the expansive solar PV panels power an integrated smart home system, blending convenience and control over lighting and sound throughout the home.
Lam’s influence extends to the detached pool house, replete with its own recreation room and full kitchen, perfect for guests or extended family. The impeccably maintained grounds frame an endless pool and cabana, providing a tropical oasis for relaxing or entertaining.