Sayvepen Sengsavang displaying one of his signature dishes at Mu Noi Brunch in Auburn last summer. The restaurant is closing Sunday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal file photo Buy this Photo

AUBURN — After the hustle and hard work of opening a restaurant on Center Street during a pandemic, the couple behind Mu Noi Brunch have decided two eateries is too much.

Chef Sayvepen Sengsavang and his wife, Elise, announced on social media that Mu Noi Brunch’s last day is Sunday, just shy of a year in business.

“We (Sav & Elise) have the opportunity to pursue the growth of our first business, Le Mu Eats in Bethel, and while nothing is official, we are well aware of the focus and time we will have to put into that new growth,” they wrote in a June 19 Facebook post. “We can’t thank you enough for your investment in our success and helping a little family restaurant to stay open during a global pandemic. How wonderful you all truly are.”

Elise Sengsavang said Tuesday that it had been a really tough decision.

“Especially because there has been an entire community behind us, supporting us,” she said. “We have really been so grateful for the outpouring of love we’ve received from everyone as they learn we are closing our doors in Auburn, with the hopes of opening doors in Bethel, where we have made our home and are raising our real-life Mu Noi.”

“Mu Noi” means “little pig” in Laotian and is named after their daughter’s nickname.

The couple opened Le Mu Eats out of a blue food trailer in western Maine in 2018 serving a mix of Laotian, Southern and modern American cuisine.

They opened Mu Noi Brunch at 1056 Center St. on July 8, 2020, with “food we want to eat and is fun to cook” after looking to open a brick and mortar restaurant for more than a decade, according to a Sun Journal feature last January.

Chef Sav appeared on the Food Network’s Supermarket Stakeout the next month.

Gift cards for Mu Noi Brunch will be honored at Le Mu Eats at 7 Mechanic St. in Bethel.

“The food trailer we affectionately refer to as the Charming Blue Shanty will continue to operate in Bethel until we can make our brick and mortar dreams come to fruition,” Elise said.

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