Chieu Le, founder of Lee’s Sandwiches, came to America and settled in San Jose in 1980. He began taking education classes to study English and would frequently buy food from catering trucks before and after class. Seeing the potential, Chieu decided to work on a catering truck to get more involved with the business. The following year, he bought his own vehicle and began his first route around San Jose.
While new to food service, Chieu quickly realized catering trucks needed a place to park and clean while being able to restock food and ice. This sparked the creation of Lee Bros. Foodservices, Inc, which he and his brother Henry Le would later develop in 1982. Lee Bros. Foodservices, Inc would go on to be the largest industrial catering company in Northern California; serving more than 500 independently operating trucks at one time.
In 1983, Chieu’s parents, Ba Le and Hanh Nguyen, started serving banh mi to students and residents in the San Jose area. This became an instant hit amongst the community. Inspired by the overwhelming support, they decided to open the first permanent location on Santa Clara Street in San Jose and named it Lee’s Sandwiches.
In 2001, Chieu and his eldest son, Minh, developed a brand-new concept for Lee’s Sandwiches. Alongside the traditional Vietnamese banh mi options, they wanted to add Euro-style sandwiches, fresh baked baguettes, croissants and an extensive line of drinks including Lee’s Coffee. The family came together to support this new concept and simultaneously opened the first store in Southern California on Bolsa Avenue in Westminster.
With the success of this new concept, Lee’s Sandwiches began opening locations in Northern California, Southern California, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma. Today, Lee’s Sandwiches has over sixty locations all across the country with further plans to expand.
Lee’s Sandwiches is the product of family, tradition, and hard work. It would not be here today without the support from an amazing community. Lee’s Sandwiches has been grateful to be able to attract a diverse crowd and offer a unique dining experience for everyone.