Vietnam's Pho is expanding in the Strip District, adding an Express Bar adjacent to the main restaurant space, featuring banh mi sandwiches, bubble tea, and salad and sushi bars.
Tom Nguyen, co-owner and chef, says when an adjacent restaurant space became available, he and partner Gina Trinh decided to expand because so many customers were asking for those Vietnamese hoagies.
For banh mi lovers, this is exciting news. Banh mi, (a Vietnamese sandwiches of marinated meats or tofu, pickled vegetables, jalapenos, and herbs on baguette) are increasing in popularity in Pittsburgh.
Lucy Nguyen (no relation) has served these sandwiches from a sidewalk grill for many years, but spends her winters in Vietnam. With Vietnam’s Pho’s new Express Bar, these sandwiches will be available year-round.
Nguyen says he is surprised that so many Pittsburghers have been asking for the Vietnamese sandwiches, and that this demand is the whole reason for the expansion.
Nguyen says he personally favors light salads for lunch, which is why he included the salad bar. Pasta, potato, and tuna salads are included, but also Vietnamese-style preparations, like papaya, lotus, and green mustard salads. Meals are weighed, and paid by the pound.
At the sushi bar, which seats seven, a chef will prepare rolls in front of the customer. Rolls include avocado, cucumber, tuna, eel, and California, among many others.
Fruit smoothies, teas, and bubble teas feature tropical fruits like passion fruit, kumquat, mango, as well as peach, honeydew, and other fruits. And there's even one made from durian, a fruit still considered quite peculiar among American tastes.
Vietnam's Pho has been serving the beef noodle soups that are its namesake, among many other Vietnamese dishes, for the past three years in the Strip.
In celebration of their grand opening, items at the Express Bar will be 10% off for the first two weeks.
Vietnam’s Pho is open 11 A.M. to 9 P.M.; the Express Bar opens earlier, 9 A.M. to 7 P.M.
1627 Penn Avenue, Strip District. 412-281-8881.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Soruce: Tom Nguyen, Gina Trinh