New and renewed spots for a bite to eat

Writer: Hailey Allen

The shift from summer to fall comes with a lot of changes. Blink once or twice and, suddenly, all the leaves have turned and the football season is halfway over. The local foodie community moves quickly, too, so here are three new — or renewed — changes worth noting.

The Eggroll Ladies

What started as a pandemic project is now a full-blown Vietnamese restaurant. Owner Trang Pham began selling egg rolls out of her car three years ago before upgrading to a food truck. Years earlier, she immigrated to Iowa with her family, when she was 6, and eventually worked with her mother to develop family recipes into modern Vietnamese-American dishes to sell to customers looking for what she calls “legit Asian food.” The new brick-and-mortar location, at 5548 N.W. Second St., held its grand opening Oct. 1 and will continue slinging favorites like marinated pork egg rolls and lemongrass teriyaki chicken. Check its Facebook page for menu updates and hours.

Cha Cha’s Hiland Bakery

New owners recently took over the Hiland Bakery, a beloved institution in the Highland Park. Elizabeth “Cha Cha” Kirkman, the baking wizard behind Cha Cha’s Confections, and her husband, Ed, took over the business in August. The duo inherited all of the original recipes, so regulars can rest assured their favorite treats — donuts, danishes and more — are here to stay, right alongside Cha Cha’s cheesecakes, pies and cookies. The bakery at 3615 Sixth Ave. will celebrate its transition with a ribbon-cutting ceremony 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Vibrant Coffeehouse + Kitchen
Talk about a rebrand. The number-crunching bigwigs behind Vibrant Credit Union noticed that most people no longer visit brick-and-mortar financial institutions in the age of online banking. But they do visit coffee shops. So Vibrant Coffeehouse at 520 E. Grand Ave. was born as a way to offer community members a place to convene, conveniently. Vibrant Credit Union members can bank there, but non-members can just as easily enjoy their time with a snack and a drink. The shop even offers visitors use of their ITM (an interactive teller machine, like an ATM but fancier). Stop by on Oct. 21 to snag a free Halloween mug.

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