After 10 years operating one of the city’s most innovative Asian restaurants, brothers and owners Steven and Michael Ton will close Basa Modern Vietnamese in Clifton on Saturday, Christmas Eve.
According to Steven Ton, the end will be bittersweet, but the story has a bright future for both him and Michael.
“Everyone’s apologizing when they hear we’re closing, but it’s actually OK because we’ve had a really good run,” said Steven Ton, who managed Basa’s dining room. His family immigrated here from Vietnam, as Saigon fell, four decades ago. “Michael and I have made a lot of friends through the restaurant, and so I’m going miss that relationship with our guests. But we’re both really looking forward to what’s coming next.”
Michael Ton, the restaurant’s chef, will move to Boca Raton with his wife and two sons. Steven said she bought a nail salon there, and her having a business will give his brother time to spend with his sons, who are 7 and 12 years old.
“Working in the restaurant business means there are a lot of sacrifices made,” Steven Ton said. “He’s worked six days a week for 10 years, and he’s missed a lot of time with my nephews—his sons—and so I’m very happy for him. I know he’s looking forward to being a stay-at-home-dad for at least a little while.
“As far as me, it’ll give me more time to spend on Falls City (Hospitality Group) projects. I’ve spent the last several years working on that during the day, and then coming to Basa at night. I’m looking forward to a little more free time.”
Though the Tons are partners in Falls City Hospitality Group, he stressed that Basa is not a part of FCHG, and that the fall closure of Doc’s Cantina “has no connection at all to our decision. These are completely separate businesses. The timing is the only coincidence.”
Michael Ton will remain an FCHG partner for at least the immediate future, his brother said.
Ton said he’s promised the restaurant’s 10 employees that he’ll help them find jobs, and that several have already been absorbed into the staff at Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar, which is owned by FCHG.
Ton said the closing night’s dinner will include a special menu. The ending will be bittersweet since any sadness will be offset by seeing loyal customers.
“I’m not leaving Louisville, so I hope to see many of them around the city,” he said. “But I do really want to encourage customers to come by that night so I can say goodbye to them in person.
Since it’ll likely be busy, ring them up now for a reservation at 502-896-1016. And if you have an outstanding gift card, make sure to use it soon.
And speaking of Doc’s Cantina, what FCGH plans to do with the River Road space remains undecided, Ton said.
“No, there’s no decision yet,” he said. “We’re still trying to figure that out.”