Vietnam-born Nguyen came to the United States as a refugee in 1975, eventually setting in Texas to study at the University of Houston, and receive his law degree from The University of Texas. Nguyen worked as a security attorney and corporate council at Belo and dot com start up Parago. Leaving law in 2000, Nguyen joined forces with his brother to launch a software startup, achieving IPO by 2008, but ultimately he wanted to start a company of his own. Nguyen took a sabbatical and decided that cooking his family meals would be his responsibility and contribution to the household. Over time, simple one-pot meals became multi-course nightly feasts. Drawing on his roots, Nguyen started working towards the perfect bowl of pho, reminiscent of his childhood in Vietnam. After many months of trial and error, he perfected his recipes and decided to open a restaurant. DaLat Vietnamese Restaurant and Bar opened in 2012, specializing in late night, authentic Vietnamese food. Two years later, the pizza place across the street closed, which prompted Nguyen to challenge himself with creating the perfect pizza recipe. He spent six months testing out doughs, perfecting house made sauce from freshly roasted Roma tomatoes, and meticulously tweaked each recipe. The first Zalat Pizza opened its doors in 2015, serving unique specialty pizzas such as the Pho Shizzle, Elote, and Loaded Notato, all hand-made and cooked in traditional pizza oven. Nguyen knew that good food served late was deeply appreciated by his Dalat customers, so Zalat’s 4am closing time drew a cult-like fanbase in Dallas, quickly becoming a local favorite among service industry and daytime customers alike. Zalat Pizza now has 16 locations across DFW, with more local spots in the works, and plans to open in Houston in late 2021. Nguyen is most proud of the company culture that has developed as Zalat Pizza continues its growth. All hourly employees receive full medical benefits, 401k planning, and stock options: perks that were common in his former life in the legal and software industries, but rarely seen in the restaurant industry.