Good news for fans of Nyum Bai, the very popular Oakland Cambodian restaurant that closed at the height of its popularity two years ago: Chef Nite Yun is coming to SF and opening something new.

Nyum Bai was already a hit when Bon Appetit declared it one of the best new restaurants in the country in 2018, and that was six months before Chronicle critic Soleil Ho, then new on the job, called it a "stunner" in one of their first reviews at the paper. When it suddenly closed in May 2022, chef-owner Nite Yun said, "This is not the end of Nyum Bai, rather the closing of its first chapter, which has been something truly special."

Yun's five-year lease at the tiny Fruitvale Village space was coming to an end, and she said a new incarnation would open soon — but it's been nearly two years since that announcement.

The SF Business Times caught a business license application last June, before a lease had even been signed at the Ferry Building, suggesting we would see a new Nyum Bai open there.

But, alas, it will be a slightly different restaurant, possibly with a limited menu, but still Cambodian and still from Yun.

As the Chronicle reports, it's called Lunette, and it will be taking over a small-ish space formerly occupied by Prather Ranch Meats, across from Far West Fungi.

Lunette will be a "casual noodle bar," and will offer "Cambodian noodle and vegetable dishes as well as rice plates inspired by Cambodian street food," the Chronicle says.

Yun said in a statement that she hopes to "bring Cambodian cuisine to the people of San Francisco in an easy, welcoming and warm environment that reflects and celebrates our culture."

Born in Thailand to Cambodian refugee parents, Yun came to the U.S. at the age of two, with her parents first landing in Texas, and then in the large Cambodian community in Stockton, California.

"Kids at my school watched cartoons and ate meatloaf and pizza while we ate dried fish and rice, sitting on the floor," Yun told Bon Appetit in 2018. "I remember kids looking at my lunch box with a funny look, because it smelled weird and looked weird. I just wanted a sandwich to take to school, to fit it. But I wasn’t totally ashamed; back then, I was going back and forth between two very different upbringings, identifying myself as a Cambodian first and foremost, but also as an American, and that’s how I think of myself now."

Yun attended SF State and was pursuing a nursing career, but after a trip to visit Cambodia and learn more about its food, Yun returned to SF and started a business through La Cocina's incubator program. She quickly became one of the organization's biggest success stories, with Nyum Bai regularly having lines and long waitlists for its handful of tables.

"I’m so happy with how the restaurant came together," Yun said in 2018. "Both the food and the atmosphere are a tribute to the golden era of Cambodia, the ’50s and ’60s... When my parents came to the restaurant opening, I could see they were proud of me and the restaurant, and happy to see all the people eating there."

She added, "Cambodian cuisine is so interesting and delicious, and there’s no reason it can’t be as popular as any other cuisine in America. We’ve been in the shadow for so long."

Look for Lunette to open at the Ferry Building sometime this spring.

Top image: Curry NomPachok with noodles at Nyum Bai, via Instagram