Patrick Nguyen of The Straw

PATRICK NGUYEN
THE STRAW | COSTA MESA, CA

For Patrick, creativity has always been a passion. Before starting college, Patrick wanted to study art and make a career as an artist, although his parents weren’t too fond of the idea. Knowing his parents wanted him to study business he found a major that had the best of both worlds for creativity and business-marketing.

After graduating with a degree in marketing, Patrick worked menial jobs that weren’t giving him opportunity to grow into his full potential and after a while, realized the field of marketing wasn’t living up to the expectations and decided to leave the corporate world. To earn income while figuring out his future he worked at his family's restaurant. He helped out with the business side of the restaurant and used the other part of the time to find ways to add desserts to the menu. There was no space in the kitchen to bake up traditional Vietnamese desserts, so he tried his hand at experimenting with ice cream and created a Vietnamese version of the Italian affogato with Vietnamese coffee instead of espresso. With very traditional dishes on the menu, Vietnam’s Pearl Restaurant customers were not a fan of the Vietnamese affogato. Patrick didn’t want to give up, and experimented with ice cream and lime juice and found the mix of flavors were exotic, refreshing and really tasty. Excited, he put it on the menu but received negative feedback with accusations of not being authentic to the Vietnamese culture. He resolved that Vietnam’s Pearl Restaurant would stick to their roots-no dessert. Around this time the space right next to the restaurant became vacant; with money saved up and still having the passion to create, Patrick found an opportunity to take the space and create his own concept. Enter: The Straw.

With the concept of simple ice cream and lime juice, Patrick wanted to focus his creations around experimenting with nontraditional flavors like fresh mint, lime and ginger, or thai mango sticky rice as inspiration (spoiler alert: these are both milkshakes on the menu). With the excitement of new flavors, Patrick also wanted to change the way people experience dessert. He wanted to treat his milkshakes with the same respect as a really good cocktail and set up his spot as if you’re at your favorite speakeasy, but instead of libations it’s milkshakes! Patrick’s goal for The Straw is to be a place for people to go for dessert and entertainment, a place where artistry and flavor become one.