Bad news for you fans of serious Vietnamese food: Ha Noi Pho, my Best Taste of Hanoi, has been sold. This happened just yesterday, but already the joint is operating under another name: Can Tho Pho.
At least according to the sign out front at 1036 South Federal. When I put in a call just a few minutes ago (silently hoping that my very dependable Vietnamese restaurant source had, somehow, gotten this one wrong), the voice on the other end clearly said...something. Followed by "Ha Noi Pho, can I help you?"
"Ha Noi Pho?" I asked.
"I heard that the restaurant had been sold."
And then it was explained to me how Phuoc Pham and his wife, Khanh, who'd owned Ha Noi Pho, had just done the deal in the last 24 hours, and some of the particulars were still being worked out. But the new name is definitely "Can Tho Pho," and the new owners and managers are due in later this afternoon.
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According to the very helpful guy on the phone, "Everything is going to be changing."
And while I don't know what that means, exactly (and neither, apparently, did he), I'm more than a little bit worried. I loved Ha Noi Pho. I loved the weird, unpronounceable soups, the strange ingredients that, sometimes, even Phuoc Pham couldn't identify, the jellied blood that came with everything and the monumental silence of the place when, in slow moments, all the staff would sit down together to watch TV in the dining room as if I wasn't even there.
I loved that the restaurant had survived the ups and downs of the economy, the ups and downs of its neighborhood, and a terrible police-involved shooting that I just missed being in the middle of. And now everything is changing?
More details as they come in, kids. But whatever happens, I know that I'm going to feel a little bit poorer for not having gotten the chance to have one last meal at Ha Noi. For those of you who're interested, you can check out my last review of the place from the archives and mourn along with me.