There’s a Vietnamese legend about a man who held a peach in his right hand. Not an ordinary peach, but a peach from heaven, a peach that possessed the blessing of good fortune. It is a common tradition among the Vietnamese to keep statues of this man and his peach in their homes in order to draw luck to their households and families, and Diane Bui, the owner of Dao Tien Vietnamese Bistro, is a follower of this tradition.
Diane would love to bring the statue to her restaurant, but it is said that the statue will only bring blessings if it is kept in your place of residence. The spirit of the peach man, however, is always present within the restaurant, because it is named after the peach he bears. Dao Tien roughly translates to “a peach from heaven.” There is also another significance behind the restaurant’s name: it is named after Diane, whose Vietnamese name is Dao, and her daughter Amy, whose Vietnamese name is Tien. If you find the story behind Dao Tien’s name fascinating, you’ll find the story of Diane even more so.
Diane grew up in Saigon, where her family owned a restaurant. Her grandmother, and later her mother, ran the restaurant, so Diane was constantly exposed to the challenges and responsibilities that come with managing a small business. Unfortunately, Diane’s family was forced to leave Vietnam during the Indochina refugee crisis. They arrived in the United States in 1992 and settled in Dodge City, Kansas.
Although the family restaurant was left behind in Vietnam, Diane followed in her mother and grandmother’s footsteps when she opened her own restaurant in 1994. In addition to starting her own business, she also married a fellow Vietnamese refugee who arrived in 1989. After running her restaurant for several years, Diane sold it to her cousin so that she and her husband could move to the St. Louis region. After they settled in, her husband started a construction business while Diane spent some time working in the nail salon industry. Eventually she decided to get back into the restaurant business and opened Dao Tien in 2012.
During the pursuit of their entrepreneurial endeavors, Diane and her husband found time to raise four brilliant children. In addition to Amy (Tien), who is studying nursing at UMSL, there is Jimmy, who is studying mechanical engineering at Mizzou; Sunny, who is studying electrical engineering at UMKC; and Tiffany, who is still in high school, but plans to study pediatrics at UMKC. When she is not studying, Tiffany often spends time helping her mom with the restaurant.
Speaking of the restaurant, you’ll find the food as amazing much as Diane’s story. A variety of spring rolls, egg rolls, sandwiches, noodles and rice platters are available alongside seafood, vegetarian options, and Vietnamese smoothies and desserts. There are countless other offerings on the menu as well. The lemon grass chicken is a must try, along with their numerous soup bowls. With all of these options, you’ll have every reason to stop in repeatedly to try something new.
All in all, Dao Tien really is a peach from heaven, as is Diane, who has proven a wonderful contributor to the diverse culture, strong small business climate and fantastic restaurant scene that define U City in general and The Olive Link International District in particular. You can’t help but wonder if U City residents all keep statues of the peach man in their homes, because they are lucky to live in a community that is a magnet for businesses like Dao Tien.
8600 Olive Blvd.
University City, MO 63130