Pho Bac’s original restaurant opened in 1982, but has gotten upgraded since. | Photo courtesy of @phobacseattle
Hoist those sails, land + food lubbers. After being mostly out of commission for two years, Pho Bac’s legendary boat-shaped restaurant in Little Saigon is preparing to reopen in October, says co-owner Yenvy Pham. And the seasoned ol’ vessel still has some surprises within its planks.
Making new waves 🌊
After some renovations (and a pretty sweet disco ball), what Seattleites simply call “the boat” had a resurgence in early 2020 that was soon stymied by the pandemic. It has hosted a couple of pop-ups since, but mainly stayed dormant while Pho Bac Sup Shop across the parking lot and the franchise’s other locations — including theacclaimed new speakeasy Phocific Standard Time — did their thing.
This spring, the boat got a fresh paint job in mauve — a tribute to Yenvy’s late brother Khoa, who loved the color. The menu is also getting an update with Vietnamese chicken + rice dishes that will likely be the biggest additions. They sound simple, but traditional versions are made with an exciting balance of flavors.
Steam ship 🍜
Even if the poultry plates are new, comfort food has always been a staple of the restaurant. After Yenvy’s parents opened the spot 40 years ago, the boat soon became known as Seattle’s OG pho destination.
In 2007, the Vietnamese Catholic Church had a parade with a boat float. Rather than discard the structure, Yenvy’s dad wondered if the end of it might look good planted outside his shop — and he was right. Many diners can’t imagine the neighborhood without Pho Bac’s seafaring vibes.
The boat itself will have a few upgrades — the outdoor deck is fully swabbed and may host some more pop-ups.
Yenvy even slyly joked that there could be “karaoke.” Hey, why not? A boat party is the best kind.
Use the links below to bowl over any foodie friends with the news.
SIFF Film Talks: Paul Verhoven | Wed., Sept. 21 | 7 p.m. | SIFF Film Center + virtual | $10+ | This chat dives deep into two of the Dutch filmmaker’s most provocative films — “Total Recall” + “Basic Instinct.” 🎥
Smoke from the Bolt Creek Fire could linger in the Seattle area through tomorrow, with air that may be unhealthy for thosewith respiratory conditions, children, and older adults. Forecasters said the air should improve later in the week with a chance of rain on Friday. (Puget Sound Clean Air Agency)
Mayor Bruce Harrell has selected Adrian Diaz as the new permanent Seattle Police Chief. Diaz had been in the role on an interim basis since 2020 and was one of three finalists selected by Harrell earlier this month after a nationwide search. The Seattle City Council will vote to confirm the appointment at a date TBD.
Pencils down — heads up. After suspending their strike last week, members of the Seattle Education Associationhave ratified a three-year contract with Seattle Public Schools. The deal includes a raise for teachers, increased mental health staffing + more money for libraries that serve low-income students. ✏️ (Q13 FOX)
Trees-y does it. Next week, the Seattle City Council will vote on a six-year parks budget. The council’s proposed parks and recreation spending would be ~$115-118 million in 2023 and as high as $143 million by 2028. Money is earmarked to plant trees, increase staff, and renovate nine community centers. 🌳 (Seattle Times)
You may want to plan your travel carefully this weekend. Due to construction, I-90 westboundwill be closed at the western side of Mercer Island starting tomorrow, hampering routes around Lake Washington. The closure will continue through the morning of Mon., Sept. 27. 🚧 (MyNorthwest)
Overnight closures on Alaskan Wayhave begun while work on the planned Marion Street bridge ramps up. The street will be reduced to one lane from 7 p.m.-6 a.m. through Fri., Sept. 30 — two lanes in each direction are open during the day. (Seattle Times)
Fremont’s got some fresh noodz. Popular ramen jointOoink — which has operated in a small Capitol Hill shop for six years — recently opened a new location at 3630 Stone Way N. Its new Fremont outpost is bigger than the original, but the menu items remain the same. (Capitol Hill Blog)
New menu alert.Downtown restaurantOutlier is switching from Asian fusion to a focus on burgers, beer + milkshakes. A particularly enticing option is a cheese-stuffed chorizo patty with queso and guajillo salsa. 🍔 (Eater Seattle)
Now, where do we put that lava lamp? UW is looking to lease four new properties near its Seattle campus that would add hundreds of student apartments. The properties include Blakely Village, Nordheim Court, Laurel Village, and Radford Court. 🏘️ (Seattle Times)
Start printing out those t-shirts.Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith has reportedly filed a trademark for a post-game quote he gave after the team’s first win this year: “They wrote me off — I ain’t write back, though.” The trademark covers apparel, art, toys + other kinds of merch. (MyNorthwest)
You may hear lots of hammering by the West Seattle docks.Repairs have begun at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal two months after a boat had a hard landing there. The fixes will continue during the fall + winter, and are expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. ⛴️ (KIRO 7)
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In what seems straight out of a Norwegian bedtime tale, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has commissioned goats to clear the area of pesky weeds — something that cities have done often for similar road work.
Goats are very efficient at removing overgrown brush near bridges + major roads, allowing Seattle’s department to tidy up such areas without resorting to harmful pesticides. And the labor comes relatively cheap — meals provided.
There are 115 of them onsite with their herder — and they’ll be around through Mon., Sept. 26.
SDOT uses the animals because they can navigate steep slopes that human employees can’t.
For those curious on how to get in on the action, the Vashon rental service is available to private citizens, too.
Goat on + check it out for yourself.
Today’s issue was written by Gabe.
Editor’s pick: I just got back from a quick weekend trip to Mount Rainier — the closest I’ve ever been to that giant. It’s super impressive from all angles, but if you have a chance, check out the scenery from Tipsoo Lake. Totally postcard-worthy.
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