As a first generation American of Vietnamese heritage, Betty Ngyuen Archote, proprietor of Thanh Thanh Restaurant in Old Gretna embodies the fulfillment of the American dream. Born to Vietnamese parents who came to the United States in 1975, Betty is the oldest of 13 children. Her father was a fisherman and her mother had a passion for cooking, which led to several family businesses, including a seafood store, sandwich shop and catering business. Betty learned cooking, kitchen creativity and her work ethic from birth.
Betty’s mom, Viet, opened the first Thanh Thanh in Algiers. While it was a popular lunch spot, Betty had dreams of expanding. That dream became a reality when the famous Mother’s Restaurant, located in the heart of Old Gretna, went up for sale. Just steps from the ferry, along the famous Huey P. Long Avenue, it was the perfect dining spot for Betty’s vision of the new Thanh Thanh, which means “Light Blue on a Clear Day.”
It is now, from that very spot in Historic Gretna, that Betty and her mother create authentic Asian inspired cuisine with their own unique twists. They invite you to dine on their homemade recipes, including the popular Mama’s Pad Thai Noodles, while surrounded in a cultural ambiance rich in history as well as modern-day touches.
Huey P. Long Avenue is the most famous street in Old Gretna stretching from the Mississippi River to the Westbank Expressway with many Historic Gretna Landmarks along the way. Starting from the Mississippi River, which is the second longest river in the United States; you see the notable Jefferson Memorial Arch which serves as a memorial for all the brave American soldiers who fought in The War Between the States, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. The Gretna City Hall is our neighbor across the street, and Jefferson Parish Court is one block away.
Keep walking or driving ahead and you will find the gem of the city, the Southern Pacific freight depot built in 1905 that now hosts the Gretna Visitor’s Center. In the front of the Visitors Center is a statue of Mel Ott, a Major League Baseball for the New York Giants, born in 1909, whose name you recognize from Mel Ott Park off Belle Chasse Highway.
Another jewel is the German-American Museum at 519 Huey P. Long Avenue which welcomed the arrival of German immigrants to Gretna.
Visit David Crockett Volunteer Fire Department which is the oldest continuously active volunteer fire department in the United States, and just around the corner from Thanh Thanh’s at 1136 Lafayette St, Gretna, LA 70053.
Enjoy a delicious meal at Thanh Thanh as you learn about Old Gretna and celebrate Gretna’s 101 year anniversary!