Although students may still be recovering from the loss of Happy Fish, Pho on Main II is filling a vacancy in Campustown and hoping to fill that casual dining void in our hearts.
Pho on Main II is scheduled to open on Sunday, Oct. 14. The three-day grand opening will feature 20 percent off prices in the menu, which offers fare to please all sorts of dietary preferences.
Food offerings include typical Vietnamese dishes like Vermicelli noodle bowls, edamame, rice noodle soups, egg or spring rolls, fried or steamed rice and more, but also has options for other distinct tastes. For example, guests can order fries, wings, fried shrimp or even classic chicken nuggets, with options for many different types of allergies and diets. Another draw is many flavors of Boba tea.
Son Dinh (Sunny) Nguyen, owner and operator of the new business, is excited about the opportunity to bring something new to the city; there are not many Vietnamese restaurants in the area.
“It’s healthy food,” Nguyen said. “We don’t use a lot of oils like many places.”
Restaurant hours are currently scheduled to begin running from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days of the week, with a “happy hour” from 3 to 5 p.m.
With winter around the corner, Nguyen said he anticipates cold hands clasping bowls of pho and other warm, healthy food from Pho on Main II. “When it’s cold … when it’s snowing outside, there’s nothing better than hot soup,” Nguyen said. “I think that’s something we offer you can’t get everywhere.”
Although Nguyen is new to the Peoria area, he is not new to the restaurant business. His family owns and operates a restaurant, Pho on Main, in Colorado.
After 15 years of cooking and managing with his family, he relocated to Pekin for a fresh start.
Nguyen noted that the storefront was for sale on his way to grab coffee from the neighboring Starbucks about a month ago. He decided to sign the lease “immediately… in one minute” and called that he wanted to sign the lease “as soon as possible.” So, he did.
“I love restaurants … I love cooking,” Nguyen said. “I feel happy when a customer feels good. That makes me happier than money.”
He hopes to soon totally redecorate and remodel the space including turning the public kitchen bar area into space for more seating, but has made more minor changes to the aesthetic for now. In addition, he is planning to eventually start implementing a weekly student discount day.
“Hopefully both the [general public] and students come out to eat here,” Nguyen said.