Burger Bodega in Houston Channels the Grit and Glamour of New York
New York City’s multitude of corner delis are legendary. Where else can you get a tasty egg-and-cheese sandwich and a bottle of Tide detergent at 11 PM? Translating his pop-up concept Burger Bodega into a brick-and-mortar destination, influencer turned restaurant owner Abbas Dhanani looked to re-create the joy he felt among those cramped yet inviting merchandise isles. He turned to interior architects Han Dang and Vy Truong to bring his vision to life inside a 1,600-square-foot, former fire station, but in Houston.
Born in Vietnam and University of Houston classmates, the 29-year-old cofounders of Very Handsome Studio (the moniker derived from their first-name initials) fine-tuned their concept through Big Apple visits and social media deep dives. The result combines a palette of “ketchup red, mustard yellow, and bodega blue,” Dang and Truong say, with pop art–inspired branded merchandise, neon, and black-and-white upholstery that nods to both graffiti and Dhanani’s Islamic heritage. It’s an urban, multiculti mélange the VHS duo refers to as “umami design essence—an overall balance of something that cannot be easily explained but can be easily understood.”
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