Tasty Vietnamese food at a donut shop? It’s a thing at Corner Park Cafe in Santa Rosa.
Though it seems like an odd pairing, there’s a long history of immigrants from southeast Asia opening donut shops that also serve the foods of their homeland. You can thank Ted Ngoy, a Cambodian refugee who is widely credited for not only building his own donut empire in the 1980s but providing seed money for hundreds of other immigrants to purchase the high-profit sweet shops throughout the state.
Corner Park Cafe had a slightly different trajectory, owned by longtime donut-maker Frank Whigham and his Cambodian wife, Champa, for more than a decade. The couple typically worked 18 hour days, sticking to fresh donuts of every strip. At 89, Frank was ready to retire, recently transferring ownership to Kanha Kien, another Cambodian who owns Santa Rosa’s Yo Panda. The Corporate Center Drive cafe offers — you guessed it — donuts and Vietnamese food.
Go for the pho, barbecue pork banh mi, fresh rolls, and noodle bowls, but save some room for mango shaved ice, a specialty. Mango ice cream is shaved into impossibly thin stacked ribbons of flavor, topped with a pile of fresh mango and sugar syrup. They’ve also got a taro root version with strawberries that’s a more exotic take.
Of course, you can’t leave without a couple of donuts too. 4275 Montgomery Dr, Santa Rosa.