Despite being partially hidden by a tree, the newest restaurant sign to sprout on South Broadway is hard to miss: giant all-caps spelling out Fee Fi Pho Fum above a small storefront just north of Arkansas Avenue. It's a silly name for sure, but it makes a little more sense when you realize it's the project of Jason Tietjen, one of the the owners of the pun-loving Dive Inn right next door. Tietjen expects to have the new noodle soup joint open later this summer, with plans for rapid expansion of the concept in the coming year.
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Tietjen says that he wants Fee Fi Pho Fum to be "the Jimmy John's of Pho." The Broadway store will be the first and largest (with only a handful of seats), but he's already planning a second location in the Washington Park neighborhood (he couldn't disclose the exact address yet) and says he could have as many as four open by the end of the year. All of the locations will be geared toward takeout and delivery, with a brief menu of rare steak, brisket, meatball, chicken and tofu pho.
Now that the first seed has been planted on Broadway, rapid growth means franchising; Tietjen explains that he and his business partners have built a business plan that will allow franchisees to set up shop for as little as $50,000, including the franchise fee (fi pho fum). After the concept has grown roots in the metro area, Tietjen plans to send tendrils out to Colorado's mountain towns. So if you've bean stalking (sigh) an opportunity to get into the pho business, now's your chance.