GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Another round of restrictions is not on Vince Nguyen and Son Nguyen’s new restaurant’s menu.

“We’ve never seen this before. This is crazy. First time for everything, right?” said Vince and Son Nguyen.

What You Need To Know

  • Son Nguyen and Vince Nguyen planned to originally open CTB Eatery in March before the pandemic hit

  • The brothers finally opened their restaurant last week

  • Governor Gavin Newsom says California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases since the pandemic

  • Orange County is among several counties that are now in the restrictive purple tier

The brothers and co-owners of CTB Eatery originally planned to open their new Garden Grove restaurant back in March, but then the pandemic hit.

“Right when COVID hit, we could not hire anybody. We could not open a store that people could not dine in so there was no point in opening,” said Son Nguyen.

The Nguyen brothers come from a family that has opened three other restaurants in Little Saigon, Orange County. Hoping to attract a younger crowd and make their mark on the food industry, they created a menu with a twist on Vietnamese breakfast sandwiches, hot plates, a yakitori-styled grill, and full bar for dinner. After months of standing still, the brothers decided to finally open their restaurant last week, more than six months after their original opening date.

“We invested a lot in this business, so we had to find a way to keep it afloat. You cannot give up. You’ve got to keep forward,” said Vince Nguyen.

Reservations were coming in until state officials announced Monday that several Southern California Counties including Orange County must close all indoor dining as cases doubled across the state in the past week.

“We are sounding the alarm,” said Governor Newsom. “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet —faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes. That is why we are pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Now is the time to do all we can — government at all levels and Californians across the state —to flatten the curve again as we have done before.” 

For Vince and Son and other restaurant owners, that means they can only offer take-out and outdoor dining.

“For me it’s very frustrating. You constantly have to adjust, arranging and adapting to the CDC guidelines with inside eating or outside eating,” said Vince Nguyen.

The County of Orange held a press conference to provide an update on resources and information during the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday afternoon. 

“We know Thanksgiving opens the holiday season and within one month we will have three major holidays that people tend to congregate together with friends and family. There is a likelihood the amplification effect will compound the challenges we face, not just with COVID-19, but also with the flu season. The risk that our health system can be overwhelmed is very high. This is the time for us be really cognitive of what we are doing, take steps to protect ourselves, protect those we love, and protect our economy as well,” said Supervisor Andrew Do.

The Nguyen brothers said they did not qualify for government assistance or small business loans during the pandemic because they did not have any employees other than themselves. However, Son and Vince Nguyen said they hope they can ride out another wave of restrictions and do their part in lowering COVID cases so they can finally offer their menu the way they imagined.

CTB Eatery is located on 9904 Westminster Ave. Ste B, Garden Grove, CA 92844.

They are offering takeout and outdoor dining.