Owners, immigrants, survivors of the Vietnam War: Hien and Hoang Bui are living the American Dream. Although they did not know each other while in Vietnam, Hien and Hoang both came to the same conclusion after the war. If they wanted to build a life for themselves and their future children, their only choice was to escape.
As Hien and Hoang fled their homeland, the kind hand of fate and good people allowed each to avoid the innumerable obstacles in their way such as being caught by the government, death from dehydration and starvation on the open waters, and pirates that awaited those who made it that far.
A large Thai fishing vessel spotted the small riverboats that carried each of the Buis. A nearly impossible feat in the middle of the Indian Ocean because each boat was only about the size of three cars. The vessel dropped the emigrants off the coast of Thailand where they swam to shore; there they became refugees.
Hien and Hoang met during their stay in the refugee camps. Hien was the first to leave, her cousin who lived in France at the time was able to sponsor her departure. She gave Hoang an ultimatum, “meet me there in 18 months or I'm moving on.” Hoang showed up at her door with three days left. They were married in Paris.
In 1980, Hoang was the first to settle in the United States with the support of a government program which sponsored Vietnamese soldiers who allied with the U.S. Hien emigrated a few months later. After decades of hard work while raising two children, Hien decided to chase a dream. She wanted to own a restaurant like the ones she had walked by in Paris. Hoang supported his wife's dream of building a place where people felt at home. Hien and Hoang became the owners of Froggy Bottom Pub in 2000.
Froggy Bottom Pub has become a home for local college students, the surrounding working community, and the annual gathering place for VietNOW, a Vietnam veterans organization. Regulars claim the success of the restaurant to the sheer tenacity and generosity of Hien and Hoang Bui.