Patriarch of Lee’s Sandwiches Dies at 79

Photo: Hadley Tomicki

Le Van Ba, the “Ray Croc” of banh mi, died of cancer last week at age 79. A well-known sugar baron in Southern Vietnam before the war, Le helped begin Lee’s Sandwiches, the Vietnamese deli and bakery, with his family in 1983 in San Jose, after serving food from a catering truck. While currently still expanding throughout the Southland, today Lee’s many locations stretch from Westminster to Oklahoma, Dallas, and Arizona. [Mercury News via OC Weekly]