Downtown Long Beach’s Mangosteen Vietnamese Fusion Restaurant on 510 E. Broadway near Linden will — as soon as August — be joined by a second location in Belmont Shore, according to owner Benjamin Bui.
Bui initially was planning to open a new restaurant near the Staples Center/LA Live in downtown Los Angeles.
Then, on the afternoon of May 31, with the threat of civil unrest in the air, Bui’s residential neighbors on Broadway came over and boarded up his restaurant. That evening, they stood watch and discouraged vandalism in the neighborhood.
“They are beautiful people — they came together to help me and each other," Bui said as he put his hands together in a prayer position. "The people of Long Beach are special. I knew right then the new restaurant needed to be in Long Beach.”
Belmont Shore had always felt special to Bui, he said, and the desirable space at 5925 E. Second St. near Glendora (where Lasher’s Kitchen was located) seemed like a perfect fit.
He is currently creating new menu items and said he plans to transfer over the site’s existing beer and wine license. Self-taught as a chef, the most popular menu items, all made from scratch include Pho (noodle soup), rice bowls and egg rolls made with rice paper — making them gluten-free.
VBurger opened earlier this week near the corner of Fourth Street and Cherry Avenue in Long Beach's Retro Row.
Owners Paula and Alex Armstrong said, “We take pride in each and every ingredient so that our vegan food tastes 100% like its carnivore counterpart. We research and taste-test the latest vegan products, continually upgrading and improving our recipes.”
The couple met in 1999, and started volunteering at no kill animal shelters. For the past two years they have been refining vegan recipes, and in 2019 they hosted various pop-ups, all leading to the opening of this vegan restaurant at 420 Cherry Ave. that specializes making burgers.
“We are also huge advocates for our city's sheltered animals," they added. "We collaborate with Long Beach Animal Care Services (LBACS) to be able to help as many healthy and treatable animals find homes. That is our passion and why we opened VBurger.”