In April, Denver’s Vietnamese restaurant scene will make another leap forward with the addition of Sap Sua, the latest project from chefs Anthony and Anna Nguyen.

The Nguyens drew raves last February at a pop-up at Sunday Vinyl to celebrate Lunar New year, and now, they’re set to open Sap Sua – which roughly translates to “about to be” in Vietnamese – in the Lowenstein Theater building at 2550 E. Colfax Ave., alongside fellow tenants The Tattered Cover and the Sie FilmCenter. “The name took on new meaning,” Anthony told The Denver Post last February. “When you’re so close to your goals, you really won’t stop grinding until you meet them.”

The Nyugens met at culinary school in San Jose. “I fell in love with him at the same time that I fell in love with [Vietnamese] food,” Anna said. “I love the bright flavors, I love the herbs, I love the combination of umami and acid.” After working together in Los Angeles for six years, the Nyugens moved Colorado – and Anna’s hometown of Longmont – during the pandemic in 2020, and started planning what would eventually become Sap Sua. “L.A. felt really hard then, so we thought, you know, time to do it ourselves,” Anna explained.

Anthony is a first-generation Vietnamese-American, and bringing his personal experience to the table will be at the heart of the Nguyens’ venture. “First-generation Vietnamese-Americans have such a wildly different experience from our parents, and what we want to bring to Denver is an interpretation of traditional dishes I grew up eating and fell in love with,” he told The Post. “It’s the feeling we want to give to guests who grew up Vietnamese and want to see themselves represented in the culinary community. I think it’s a true representation of what we want to bring to Sap Sua when we do open.” Anthony’s parents flew in from California for the occasion. “This was the first time they’ve ever had my cooking, not just me cooking at a restaurant,” he said. “It was the biggest relief for me, when my mom and dad just said, ‘We’re proud of you.’”