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October 4, 2021

In June, Forbes covered the explosion of entrepreneurs that started businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Among them was Jackie Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American stage actor who pivoted to running a coffee shop after her tour of Miss Saigon was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Her shop, Cafe Cà Phê, serves up “Hella Good Lattes” and “Saigon” iced coffee to hundreds of customers a day. Jackie sources her beans from Vietnam though Nguyen Coffee Supply and the drinks pay homage to the coffee culture of Vietnam, a culture Nguyen looked to get more in touch with after a trip there a few years ago.

The shop is loud literally and figuratively. It’s logo is a colossal dragon head painted the bold yellow and red of the South Vietnamese flag, with dashes of bright blue in a nod to the French influence on the country’s food. “And of course, this is Kansas City,” says Nguyen, 32. “They’re the colors of the Chiefs and Royals, too.”

But Nguyen has also used her platform as a safe space for Asian Americans, artists, and the LGBTQ community in the Midwest in general and Kansas City in particular.

“I knew that there needed to be more things and more businesses that made being Asian super cool,” Nguyen said in the interview. “And I've tried really hard to build this brand to make other Asian kids out there be like, that's cool, and We feel cool. And We feel seen, and We feel heard.”

Recently Nguyen announced that Cafe Cà Phê had found a permanent brick and mortar store and is currently running another GoFundMe to help with renovations.

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