Everyone's favorite pho parlor -- Pho 95, which has locations on South Federal Boulevard and Streets at SouthGlenn -- has a new sibling. The space at 2990 West Mississippi, which was the original Chopsticks China Bistro (and, after that, one of those sub-par $1.25-a-scoop Chinese travesties), is now Pho 96.
The restaurant, which trumpets a menu that's very similar to that of Pho 95, is owned by Tony Le -- the brother of Aaron Le, who runs Pho 95 -- and his wife, Lihn Lam, both of whom did time at the Pho 95 on Federal. "Tony used to cook at Pho 95, and most of the recipes are the same," says Lam, adding that her husband wakes up at 4 a.m. every morning to make the pho broths. "It takes five hours to make the stocks, which may explain why he never cooks at home," she jokes.
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The name, says Lam, is representative of the year that Tony came to the United States: 1996. "In Vietnam, we always choose a number, rather than a name, for the pho places, and 1996 really means something to Tony, so that's why we chose it."
The space, while modest, has been completely redone since the scoop joint shuttered: New carpeting, a fresh paint job, new tables and kitchen equipment outfit the quarters, and while there's no liquor license (one is planned for the future), Pho 96 pours bobas and Vietnamese coffee, brewed individually using perforated-metal "phin" filters. "They're very slow," admits Lam, "but the coffee is excellent, and Tony is really, really good at making it."
Pho 96 is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, For more info, call 303-568-9262.