The incredibly genial co-proprietress, Yenvy Pham, will open a fourth restaurant with her sister Quynh Pham and brother Khoa Pham. Since their parents’ retirement, the siblings have fully taken the reins of the family businesses, running places like the iconic little red boat, Pho Bac.
Soon, just across the parking lot, they’ll add Pho Bac Súp Shop to that list. And while the Phams know pho and know it well, this will be a Vietnamese soup shop, yet much more.
“It's really a vision of Little Saigon, of the next generation taking over and reviving it and making it modern,” says Pham. Modern in this case means including a full bar, something this microneighborhood east of the International District lacks. It’ll be stocked with both local and Asian liquors, both local and Asian beers, and natural, effervescent wines. Pham also dreams of shareable cocktails, a list that might entail a punchbowl for around $30, filled with tropical flavor combos like fermented pineapple with tamarind and cilantro—a dream team pairing with the spicy, salty bar food.
For sure, says Pham, there will be baby clams in a tamarind sauce with rice crackers. Plus her take on fish sauce wings, but a dry, molecular-leaning version. Also look for brisket sliders, pork sausage sliders, as well as a tofu slider, and spring rolls. Meanwhile the pho will stay fairly traditional with chicken, veggie, and pork broth bases.
Inside the former Pho Viet space, which her family has owned since the ’80s, the Phams have added 800 square feet, which will serve as a sort of cafe area. Here find drip coffee, possibly Stumptown, and both hot and cold Vietnamese coffee known as cafe sua da, perhaps even an affogato version, made with condensed milk custard with a shot of Viet coffee and a cookie. As for other treats: housemade cream puffs with pandan-coconut and chocolate pudding fillings.
The design will be, again, mostly modern with an old-school touch, nodding to, as Pham lovingly puts it, "the tackiness of my parents.” Seat yourself at the long, communal table, or perhaps park in front of the tall windows. No matter where you are an outlet will be nearby—every few feet in fact—for cafe/office purposes.
Coffee, pho, bar food and drink. Pho Bac Súp Shop will have a little bit of everything going on. But Pham is ensuring her food isn’t replicating or competing with neighboring Little Saigon restaurants. “When you go to a restaurant, you think of that one item you go back for. That's how the Vietnamese food culture is, and so I really want to respect that and respect our neighbors."
The opening is slated for the spring. Follow along on Pho Bac Súp Shop's Instagram for buildout outtakes and opening updates and changes.