Journal – 4/27

This week proved to be interesting in the fact that we had an interview with the manager at Chez Trinh. We had been trying to get an interview there for a while but (due to the language barrier) we were referred to speak to him. What we learned, though, was well worth the wait.
Chez Trinh is interesting in that it is not part of the Williamsburg Area Restaurant Association (WARA). As James said, “We’re the kids sitting in the corner.” Despite that, Chez Trinh seems to be a booming success. The restaurant, originally owned by Trinh Murphy (the “Real Estate Queen of Williamsburg”) has had a colorful history with its second and (now) third owners. The restaurant has a VERY strong number of ‘regulars’; James said the restaurant would be nowhere without them.
Interestingly enough, James said that a possible draw to the restaurant is the perception of Vietnamese cuisine being ‘lighter’ than other types of asian cuisine (like Chinese). With an increased focus on healthy meal options (this is a personal ‘feel’), I think that students (who are young and thus majorly involved in ‘what’s hot’) are seeking out food that fits these qualities.
However, a counter to this argument is the incredible number of older residents that are regulars at Chez Trinh. Most of the regulars are from this age group, so there must be something else going on.
Chez Trinh also caters to the Korean Baptist church community – on multiple occasions they have hosted the entire church for lunch. It’s an interesting thought that never occurred to me until the interview – at Peking Mongolian we were told that a lot of church members go to lunch on Sundays at their establishment too. Perhaps there are connections between this group and the student body…


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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