Pho is a delight. There’s no question about it. In the past four years pho has gone from largely unknown Vietnamese soup to culinary staple. It broke into the big leagues more successfully than any Chicago White Sox prospect in the same time frame and Phodega is serving it up as good as anyone in the business. The restaurant and corner shop will be closing doors on their two current locations (Pilsen and Wicker Park) as they gear toward a grand reopening under a newer, larger umbrella in Wicker Park.
Owners Nate Hoops and Anthony Ngo opened Phodega at 1547 N. Ashland Ave. in 2019 and have been serving up delicious soups, sandwiches, and other traditional Vietnamese and Singaporean dishes like chicken and rice. Last year, the duo opened a second location in Pilsen at 1800 S. Jefferson St., focusing on selling snacks, drinks, and various candies from Asia.
When the opportunity arose earlier this year, Hoops and Ngo found it advantageous to combine the operations of their two stores into one larger storefront in a high-traffic location at 1924 W. Division St, formerly occupied by Modern Asian Kitchen (MAK, for short).
Phodega will join The Perch, Via Carducci La Sorella, Milk & Honey Cafe, and more along Division just east of Damen Ave. The culinary stretch is one of the most popular destinations in the neighborhood.
In addition, Phodega has plans to beef up its menu at the new Wicker location and plans to utilize a side walk patio are also in motion. If you remember Phodega’s original Wicker location then you know that a sidewalk patio there would have meant eating a hot bowl of soup amongst a log jam on Ashland and North. With hopes to include breakfast options and additional bahn mi sandwiches at their new location a sidewalk patio will be a much frequented addition.
Per Block Club Chicago, ownership posited, “We needed both [locations] to accommodate the volume that we do. But now is our kind of our chance to put everybody back in one house…The space just became available. It’s in a great area, and it seems like a good opportunity for us.”
Phodega will be making their move to Division St. on August 11th and we can only hope they bring the iconic ‘Send Noods’ neon sign along with them.
Featured Image Credit: Caffeinated Excursions
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