PIONEER PULSE: Lee's Sandwiches Launches Signature Veggie Line

By A. MATTHEWS - India Journal

ARTESIA, CA, Feb 11, 2010 - Lee's Sandwiches is gaining popularity with Indian- Americans with the launch of their vegetarian products. Located in the Oasis.Plaza on Pioneer Blvd. here, in the heart of ‘Little India,’ it is not surprising that they have launched this line to cater to a large potential clientele who visit the area.

As Marketing Director Lan Nguyen say "We now have three vegetarian friendly products at Lee's Sandwiches. For the Asian sandwiches we have the # 12 which is made with house made veggie mix which combines tofu and vermicelli and for the European, we have the Avocado Sandwich which can either be enjoyed on a baguette, # 26 or croissant, # 66".

For a snack or a light meal, we offer the veggie spring rolls which include the house veggie mix, salad and other vegetables inside a rice wrapper. They can be enjoyed with a special mix of soy sauce.

She goes on to explain the concept of Asian Sandwiches as opposed to European - Lee's two main sandwich lines. The Asian sandwiches are made with traditional style meats, such as jambon, pork roll and headcheese, grilled pork and grilled chicken. All the Asian style meats are made in house. In addition, each sandwich comes with house veggies, which include, house pickles (daikon and carrots), onions, cilantro and jalapenos. To complete the sandwich, they are tucked inside a fresh baked baguette.

The European sandwich line offers ham, turkey, roast beef and salami along with three different types of cheeses. These can be eaten with either the fresh baked baguette or croissant.

Lee's Sandwiches make all their bread and pastries; the bread is always fresh baked every 10 minutes and only $1 each. The croissants are always puffy with just the right amount of flaky crust.

The croissants and sandwiches can either be enjoyed by themselves or as a sandwich.

These signature features make Lee's stand apart from the other popular sandwich chains.

Apart from the Indian-American market, Lee's is tapping into all markets.As Nguyen says ,"We believe our menu can cater to any taste and preference."

With large chains like Subway and Quiznos the competition no doubt is fierce. To stay on top of it Lee’s policy is to make “no compromise on flavor and qualityâ€Â when it comes to the sandwiches considering these are priced lower than other chains. They also offer Lee’s Cofee, which is the traditional Vietnamese coffee and an instant favorite with many.

Like other businesses Lee's has also been impacted by the economic downturn. But as Nguyen figures, “ We believe that with our price point and the quality of our product, we provide the perfect place for those who want to eat well on a budget. 

From it humble beginnings by founder Chieu Le, an immigrant to America from Vietnam who settled in San Jose in 1980, the business has grown and today Lee's Sandwiches has stores in Northern California, Southern California, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma. Chieu Le began by taking adult education classes to study English and frequently bought food from a catering truck before and after class. Seeing the potential of a portable food service vehicle, Chieu Le got a job as a helper on a truck. By 1981, he bought his first catering truck and started his route around San Jose.

Chieu Le saw more potential in the catering truck business and the need for trucks to have a place to park and clean and easily restock with food and ice. The idea developed into Lee Bros. Foodservices, Inc, which him and his younger brother Henry Le developed in 1982. They chose the name Lee's so it would be easily pronounced. They went on to create the largest industrial catering company in Northern California; serving more than 500 independently owned and operating catering trucks at one time. In 1983, Chieu's parents, Ba Le and Hanh Nguyen, started serving banh mi, Vietnamese style sandwiches from their catering truck by San Jose State University to the students and residents in the area. It became an instant hit among the community. Wanting to create a more permanent location and expand the options for their patrons, they opened the first Lee's Sandwiches location on Santa Clara Street.

In 2001, Chieu Le and his eldest son developed a new concept of Lee's Sandwiches. In addition to the traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, they added Euro-style sandwiches, fresh baked baguettes and croissants, an extensive line of drinks and desserts, including the Vietnamese style French pressed coffee, cafe sua da, Lee's Coffee. Together with family members, they took this concept and opened the new store on Bolsa Street in Westminster.

Currently there are over three-dozen stores, with plans to expand across the country.

As Nguyen puts it, We plan on continuing to expand and bring more delicious foods to as many people as possible. Currently we are selling a majority of our packaged products online including our famous Lee's Coffee which is shipped cold to you.

About Lee's Sandwiches

Since 1983, Lee's Sandwiches has been committed to providing the freshest and highest quality of Euro-Asian sandwiches and coffee to their customers. With nearly 40 stores in four states, the company is the first and only franchising Euro-Asian Sandwich chain. Lee's Sandwiches has expanded their coffee line to online and roasts the freshest and most unique beans to create their signature Lee's Coffee through the traditional method of French press.

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