clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Quick, Someone Buy Kim's and Don't Change a Thing

For $25,000, you could own a Portland culinary institution — just don't screw it up.

Kate McCarty/Eater

One of Portland's most beloved cheap-eats destinationsKim's Sandwich and Cafe (sometimes known as Kim's Gift Shop for its adjoining business or Kim's Vietnamese Sandwich Shop) is for sale on Craigslist for $25,000. The space is listed at 1,200 square feet and there's no hood. Tim Ly of Mainely Property Management told Eater that the small shop is indeed profitable despite its famously low prices, as owner Kim Tran has little overhead, running the shop alone or sometimes with family members.

Ly said Tran was one of the first, and most helpful, people he met upon arriving in America decades ago, and he's excited to be able to help her now. He explained that Tran wants to retire and none of her relatives is looking to run the business, but Tran would likely be willing to stay on during the transition and help a new owner get going. Ly feels the turnkey operation is a great opportunity to maintain a similar Asian theme while adding fresh juice, coffee, even bread baked in-house. (Tran has her specialty rolls bussed in from Boston's Chinatown.)

Kim's brought Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches to the attention of the city almost a decade ago — and did so for bargain-basement prices, offering a hearty lunch option for less than $4. The affordable combination of crusty roll with pickled veggies, cilantro, and choice of meats quickly became the stuff of legend, and contributor Kate McCarty's savior during a successful attempt to eat out in Portland on $10 a day.

In 2008, The Bollard took an in-depth look at the culinary phenomenon; in the years since, the banh mi has entered the city's mainstream, popping up in such upscale forms as a pork belly house sandwich at Otherside Delicatessen, a special at The Honey Paw, a lobster version at Blue Rooster Food Co., and a croissant iteration on the lunch menu at Central Provisions. Still, no one does it quite like Kim's does, and certainly not as cheaply.

Interested in owning a Portland culinary institution? Call Ly at (207) 650-6932.

Kim's Sandwich and Cafe

261 Saint John St, Portland, ME 04102 (207) 774-7165