Vietnamese pho restau­rant to open

Own­ers will bring a mod­ern touch to au­then­tic cui­sine

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By BROOKE SCHULTZ bschultz@ches­pub.com

It was a lit­tle bit of luck and some will­ing­ness to seize an op­por­tu­nity that brought Pho Ever to Ne­wark Shop­ping Cen­ter, owner Nick Hong said.

About a year ago, Hong and a friend were work­ing to­gether to open a bub­ble tea fran­chise in Ne­wark. As soon as he saw the small store­front next to Poke Bros., he re­called think­ing, “It would be a per­fect lo­ca­tion to have a pho restau­rant as well.”

When the bub­ble tea lo­ca­tion didn’t work out, Hong said, he de­cided to open Pho Ever in­stead.

“The first time I came here, I’d seen the lo­ca­tion, the peo­ple around and just ev­ery­thing down­town – I just thought it’s per­fect,” he said.

And af­ter a year of work cre­at­ing the store “pretty much from scratch,” Pho Ever will have its soft open through­out next week.

Hong de­scribed Pho Ever as a dif­fer­ent take on Vietnamese cook­ing.

“We want to mod­ern­ize it a bit more and not go the tra­di­tional route,” he said. “We’re go­ing to see have the au­then­tic menu, but we kind of nar­rowed it down to sim­plify.”

Cus­tomers can ex­pect a ser­vice line, where they can pick the items that go into their pho – a Vietnamese soup with rice noo­dles, meats, veg­eta­bles and herbs – and see it put to­gether in front of them.

“So you get to see all that, which, typ­i­cally, no other Vietnamese pho restau­rant has,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to the build-your-own pho, Pho Ever will of­fer house spe­cials served over rice, rolls, wraps and dumplings. The menu in­cludes ve­gan/vege­tar­ian and gluten-free op­tions.

This is Hong’s sec­ond restau­rant en­deavor; he owns a more tra­di­tional Vietnamese restau­rant in up­state New York. Chef and man­ager Peter Thai op­er­ated that lo­ca­tion and is mak­ing the move to Ne­wark to run Pho Ever.

“It’s a cliché ev­ery­body says, the Amer­i­can dream; you work hard and, you know, op­por­tu­ni­ties come and you’ve got to take a chance and jump in,” he said.

Hong and Thai chan­neled the Univer­sity of Delaware’s blue-and-gold color scheme into the in­te­rior of the restau­rant, plan to be one of the par­tic­i­pat­ing res­tau­rants in the of­f­cam­pus meal plan and will of­fer de­liv­ery through the on­line plat­form Eat Street.

“We’re hop­ing to try to get to know the com­mu­nity, know the town,” he said. “We’re more than happy and will­ing, like if peo­ple want fundrais­ers and things, we can part­ner up with them and stuff like that.”

Hong also noted how the com­mu­nity has em­braced them even be­fore they opened, such as their shop­ping cen­ter neigh­bors help­ing col­lect their mail and sug­gest­ing con­trac­tors.

“We’re just ex­cited,” he said. “We can’t wait.”

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY BROOKE SCHULTZ

Peter Thai, chef and man­ager, and Nick Hong, owner, pose for a photo at Pho Ever, a Vietnamese restau­rant com­ing to the Ne­wark Shop­ping Cen­ter.

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