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 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.