Traditional street foods sustained Sean Simpson while traveling around Asia on business. Back home in Talent, he lavished most of his love on handmade sausages. The two cuisines combine — to largely wholesome effect — at Tot, the Ashland restaurant Simpson opened last summer with chef Andrew Will.
"I think this is a lot better than a hot-dog cart," says Simpson, 41, of his initial business plan.
The brothers-in-law bill Tot — a play on the Vietnamese word for "good" — as Southeast Asian barbecue with a Vietnamese bent. After working in the kitchens of Ashland's Amuse and Standing Stone Brewing Co., Will developed Tot's recipes to evoke not just the flavors of street cuisine but the genre's "honest" and "affordable" reputation.
"We kind of lucked out with what we chose," says Will, 36. "We can always change and add stuff."