Holy Cow: Columbia Heights Getting Some Pho!

IMG00023, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Sweet. Oh yes. This is great news. Thanks a million to a reader for sending. This is located on Park Road just west of 14th Street. As the reader noted to me this area is really picking up. This is very close to where Simply Soles recently opened up.

I really love Pho and I haven’t found a good spot near me besides in my old stomping grounds of Cleveland Park. Any other Pho fans out there?

62 Comment

  • Hubba hubba! Can’t wait! I’m speechless…

  • awww shiiiit… awesome news!!

  • Sweeet. Maybe now I can spare myself the treks to Pho 75 in Rosslyn.

    Separately, I was told that the number in pho restaurant names represents the year the owner arrived in the States. This explanation made sense for Pho 75 and other high double-digit names. But Pho 14, as in 1914? I’m guessing not…

    So please someone, what does the number represent?

  • oh and Will, the 14 is for 14th street

  • Vonstallin

    OH MY GOD !!!!!
    im a hard core PHO fan… when I have ladies come to the city I run over to Cleveland Park’s PHO, but when Im at work I hit up Siagon Siagon at Pentagon Row, when im on the bike I meet up with a crew and hit PHO 50 in Falls church Rt 50, and a few others.

    This is exactly what ive been looking for. A place I can just hop on the bicycle and relax with a nice bowl of chicken Pho…. not a fan of the beef 🙁

    I hope they have some nice crispy spring rolls…for when i want to be a greeseeeeeee PIG !

    The second spot i will use in the hood…besides Ruby Tuesday.

  • This is huge. Please, please, please be good.

  • Maybe I’ll finally try it, as I’m a fan of Vietnamese food in general. I always get spring rolls or garden rolls from Nam Viet on Connecticut in Cleveland Park but my home is Petworth.

  • You have made what was otherwise a completely crappy morning much better with this news!

  • Great news. I’ve been schlepping up to Beltsville (Route 1 about 3 blocks before the Costco – but outside the Beltway, ugh) at Pho 88 for outstanding Pho. I find the Pho in Cleveland Park (Nam Viet, I think) to be of lesser quality. Can’t wait to try this new one – – and I can WALK!!

  • Excellent, excellent news.

  • I guess this is great news, but I don’t know what Pho is? is it just Asian food or a particular style? Is it like a noodle place? Sorry, it sounds great but I’m just not sure what pho is……

  • I don’t have too much experience with pho, but if they make Bahn Mi sammiches I will be one happy camper.

  • Vonstallin

    This should help…
    The process takes many hours and..well…read this…



    Sorry about that.

  • Zomg. I hope they have veggie pho. John — I’m with you on Pho 88. Nom nom nom.

  • OH – Bahn Mi sandwiches!! The Post did a review of them sometime in 2008 (I can’t seem to find it on the Post’s web site – sorry). The best place for those is a little stand in the Eden Center in Falls Church. Wonderful – and cheap! Now that would be a great place to put in the empty storefront at 14th and U Sts (see separate article in todays Pentworth Blog).


  • Hallelujah!! It would be nice to have some good Vietnamese food this side of the Potomac. (not that the place in Cleveland Park isn’t good…but it’s nothing compared to the good food in the VA burbs)

    I’m so excited…I think I’m getting teary!

  • To quote springroadintoaction: OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

    Having grown up near California’s Little Saigon, I’m absolutely ECSTATIC. Pleaeasepleaseplease let it be good.

  • My only question is….WHEN WILL IT BE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!!???

  • This is wonderful!

  • if you work downtown, there are a bunch of pho places all within a couple blocks of each other. i think the pho at Asian Bistro on 19th and L is awesome.

  • Last weekend I was in that little Vietnamese grocery store in that block, which is apparently connected to the upcoming restaurant. The guy behind the counter said the restaurant would open in mid-February, and indicated that they would serve banh mi, although he wasn’t extremely definite about it.

    If you are in the neighborhood, stop in and ask the guy whether the new restaurant will have banh mi – maybe it will influence them to be sure to put it on the menu. I already expressed my pro-banh mi stance to them with great enthusiasm!

  • is the vietnamese grocery store any good? can we get a post on that POP?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I’ll be sure to check it out.

  • Anon 10:09 – Where was this grocery/What is it called? Sorry if this was already hashed out and I missed it but I would like to check this place out and put in another enthusiastic request for Bahn Mi.

  • I’m going to cry. This is beautiful. I must have passed by it last night on my way home from that Vietnamese grocery store.

    The grocery store: good place for lemon grass, bean sprouts, hoison sauce, sriacha hot sauce, and rice noodles. Oh, and Kino.

    Sheepy – I asked the guy (months ago) if they’re going to have veggie pho, and he said yes. Veggie pho is hit or miss, so I’ve got high hopes for this place.

  • Quincy St Neighbor


    and about time. I been saying how we need a pho spot east of rock creek park!

    sooooo looking forward to this esp on cold winter days!

    thanks for the news!

  • Binklesworth: You made my day. Will definitely check it out when it opens!

  • in other development news. the vacant speedwash in mount pleasant is being developed! into another laundry. Mount Laundry Street. oh well. the fact that it doesnt serve alcohol will make the old mpna buzzards happy

  • If that’s the spot I think it is, it’s been a Pho spot and pool hall for years, although in it’s previous incarnation, it served an almost exclusively Vietnamese clientel (boat people resettled in the Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights neighborhood by the Catholic Relief Agency) and had very sporadic hours. There were also two Vietnamese markets on this stretch of Park Road at one time. When I lived in Mt. Pleasant I used to go there to buy South East Asian products like Thai fish sauce and rice paper crepes.

  • finally! can’t wait to try it out. just hope that it’s good stuff. nothing is worse than crappy, Americanized Pho.

  • Chris: Back when the old “Pho” sign was on that space before it closed, I almost never saw it open (over a period of a year and a half or so). On the rare occasion that there seemed to be someone in there, all I could see was people playing pool at the tables in front. I actually assumed that it had been converted into a pool hall and that no one had bothered to take the sign down.

    Are the same owners running the place? Hopefully this thread will help them recognize that there’s a lot of demand for good pho outside of the small neighborhood Vietnamese community, but that they need to market themselves as at least being open in order to do business. The awning would seem to be a step in this direction.

  • This is Pho-nomenal news! I can’t wait. I usually get pho at Georgetown Vietnam, by work, and have been wishing there were one closer to home!
    Apparently the Pho-fairies have heard my prayers!

  • I’m pretty pragmatic about changing market conditions/gentrification, etc – but I have to call out the community here and just note that indeed this is the same Pho place that was on Park previously. Yes, the place did serve a predominantly Vietnamese clientele (since it is next to the Boat People NGO), but even if you peered in the windows and saw some Asian folks playing Pool or cards — it *was* still open and serving Pho. You may have been a little scared to walk in, but the Pho there was delicious!

    In any case, when the day they shut down, I asked them what was going on, and they said they were renovating. I thought they may had been saving face from going out of business — but now they’re back in action! So, I’m glad that everyone is excited now that they are remodeling and expanding the menu — but I have to say, that not a single one of my Pho-loving friends who live in Columbia Heights (or the surrounding area) EVER bothered to try the place or take the leap to walk in the door.

    I’m glad the renovations will finally entice people in, so it was good business smarts for them to upgrade, but it really does sort of fit the gentro-culture stereotype that this is the case…. People want their ethnic food, but they want it wrapped up in a gentro-aesthetic. Oh well.

    That being said, Pollo Sabroso is VERY tasty, too (and gentro-clean).

    I’m not complaining either way, as I’m really psyched for the new development at Petworth metro — but mainly because we have so few retail amenities our way.

  • I’m with everyone else, this is Great!

  • David, I don’t think you need to be a white yuppie gentrifier to prefer eating in a clean, inviting, attractive atmosphere that has consistent hours and markets itself. If someplace looks dingy and rundown, the first assumption, and a fair one, from anyone who is not familiar with the food would reasonably be skeptical. I realize that philosophy is not sufficiently hipster / marxist for some to understand, but I don’t think it comes down to a “gentro-culture” issue.

    By the way, maybe I just caught them on their worst day ever, but I had the chicken at Sabroso and it was so dry as to be basically inedible. Campero is way better in my view.

  • saf

    David – I would have considered trying it, had I known they were there!

  • Damned that Target and Ruby Tuesday and the damned congestation around the metro, pulling in all these independently owned and run small restaurants!

    ps. Sorry.. could not resist.

  • Oh happy day! I am so tired of going all the way out to Langley Park or Arlington (Pho 301 rocks) for good pho. I have never been impressed with the smallish bowl and meager portions of meat at Cleveland Park….this is a very welcome bit o’ news!

  • couldnt have said it better myself David. beats them going under though. Pollo should do some gentro renos themself. and once mtp begins to shift. adams express and don jamies should follow. if the yuppies wont dine in dirt then id rather the local businesses clean up than head out.

  • David – I’m sure it’s not the same people that previously ran the pho place there. The folks at the Vietnamese grocery down the street said the lady went back to Vietnam. Then, after a long closure they were open for about a day. They were none too gracious to tell me they didn’t serve veggie pho. The folks who run the grocery store are quite nice.

    Pho is bloody addictive. Back when I lived in Alexandria and got it 2-3 times a week, I asked if they put cocaine in it to keep me coming back. They just laughed. I never got a “no”.

  • I was driving behind the guy hauling the awning on his pickup on 395 last week. I thought very seriously about following him.

  • Just came back from Nam Viet for my spring rolls fix and adked the waiter about the number 79 in the Pho 79 sign. And as was previously posted, he said it referred to the year in which the owner arrived in the US. He didn’t get out immediately; he had been in a “re-education” camp for a while. Now could someone tell me how to officially pronouce pho? I don’t think its fo, more like fuh. Anyone know?

  • Sounds most like “fuh” but around most people i just say “foe” bceause that’s what everyone knows it as.

    nam viet is very mediocre compared to places like pho 75 in arlington and some other places in northern virginia. if a place has cafeteria seating, you can be sure that it’s good.

  • I agree with RD. Nam Viet is not one of the best places. They don’t include the basil on a separate plate, but sprinkle it on the soup before it leaves the kitchen, and they had no chilis on the condiment plate – just sprouts and lime. I was there again last weekend to re-try it (because it IS close and it IS a DC restaurant – wanna keep my money in the city, if possible), but I ramble. Pho 75 in Arlingon and Pho 88 in Beltsville are by far the best that I’ve tried. There are probably more. Hopefully the new place in Columbia Heights will match those – wonderful broth and lots of meat, and of course basil and chilis that you can add yourself.

  • Hopefully it will remain true to its breed and charge less than $6 for a large bowl. Perhaps this would signal an end to the era of atrocities such as the >$10 Cuban Sandwich (That’s right Rumbero’s, I’m talkin to you!)

  • Would you rather Rumberos charge $5 for a sandwich and go bankrupt in two weeks, or that they charge $10++ and go bankrupt in six months?

  • happy happy joy joy!!! XD

  • I’m very psyched about this. I love Pho, and there definitely aren’t enough Pho places in DC.

  • David, I went into the place when it was run down and they didnt serve me. Actually I went twice and a dozen other times it was closed. Both times I went were within the last 2 years and they looked at my blankly and told me the kitchen wasnt working. Ill take them at their word, but they sure didnt serve me Pho, either time.

    Also, Sabroso is great and Campero is horrible. Who remembers Inca Chicken, that spot was great and a much better Chickent place than Chix, which took over the location.

  • Hey, your experience is certainly possible…. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with complaining about bad service, erratic hours, etc — I’m just saying, I know a lot of people that wouldn’t dare try it with me (and who LOVE pho). But now, they’ll try it….

    In any case, Nam Viet in Cleveland Park is terrible for Pho. Their broth is all wrong, and they don’t provide any of the proper garnish. There are two solid Pho places on University (right off New Hampshire Ave about a couple miles north of Petworth), and there’s a good Pho place on Georgia in Silver Spring (next to Jackie’s restaurant).

  • Ok, just wanted to share info that I got from the construction crews that I talked to today, according to him, the folks at the Quehoung market and the owner or owners of this Pho 14 are family members, the previous restaurant owner retired and this Pho restaurant will be opened as soon as the constructions are done, in either mid or late Feb. 09. Meanwhile, I will just keep thinking about bowl of additive Pho !!!

  • In my experience, Pollo Sabroso could kick Pollo Campero’s butt any day with one delicious little wing tied behind its back…

  • I am surprised at how many people already know about the place even before the flyers are handed out (which should be very soon)! The restaurant will be opening before the end of March 09. Please help spread the word as we are also in the process of making the website. GET READY FOR SOME AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS PHO!!! 🙂

  • I went pass Pho 14 today and actually spotted the owner of the Vietnamese grocery shop (now owner of the newly renovated Pho 14) inside. I went inside and talked to the owner (btw, he has been owning the grocer shop for over two decades and is freaking nice.) and got some updates. They will be opening in about 10 days and yes, banh mi will be served. I also couldn’t help but to notice how beautiful it looks inside. I hope they realize how much we carve for Pho here and the impact they’ll have on this community. Go local business! See you folks at the grand opening!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guess what? I partly own the pho 14! My aunt owns it!

  • I can’t wait!

  • A couple of months ago I had a craving for Pho but was too lazy to leave the n-hood. Yippee!

  • So over the weekend a bunch of us trouped over to Pho 14 very excited bout getting our Pho on (being 3 former SE Asia expats and a Cambodian friend). Our hopes were dashed when we saw the sign that they didn’t know when they would have their inspection and couldn’t open before then 🙁 And I even saw the soft opening a few weeks ago, had my little nose pressed up against the window – I love the snacks the grocery store offers every now and then (yes, it’s the same family and they are really sweet folks) and the menu has all the items I crave – decent Pho within walking distance to a metro, Yay! So close and yet so far…Here’s hoping they can raise the cash to bribe the inspector – or whatever the esoteric process is to get restaurants started in DC……

  • Pho 14 is open (April 1, 2009) and I’ll be going there tonight to taste!

    Hope it’s good!

  • Long line at pho 14 today extending out to the streets….OMG!!!! BTW, the wait was soooo worth it!!!!

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