Pho Bac’s boat restaurant plans October reopening

There will be lots of chicken + rice plates

The pink-colored and boat-shaped Pho Bac restaurant in Seattle's Little Saigon.

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 the acclaimed 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.

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 shopand 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.

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