New restaurant brings a taste of Vietnam to Snoqualmie Valley

SNOQUALMIE - The first Vietnamese restaurant in Snoqualmie, the Pho Place, opened last month on the Ridge in hopes of bringing some diversity to town.

"Pho" is a kind of Vietnamese noodle soup. The restaurant at 7708 Center Blvd. on the Ridge serves up dishes featuring its homemade noodles as well as rice plates, Vietnamese sandwiches, vermicelli chili served with bite-size egg rolls and/or charbroiled pork, spring rolls, cheese cake and even free cream puffs. A variety of Vietnamese drinks grace the menu including Vietnamese beer, young coconut drink, a soy bean drink and Vietnamese coffee drinks.

A kids menu features hot dogs, chicken tenders and French fries for finicky eaters.

Owner Debbie Phan said her egg rolls and spring rolls are the most popular items on the menu, though the pho noodles account for 90 percent of business. Pho can be dressed up with all sorts of ingredients including meatballs, pork and chicken, Phan said.

Phan comes from a family of restaurateurs but never imagined she would be one herself until she met her current manager and chef Diep Tran, a cook of more than 25 years. "He's very good at it," Phan said.

Tran has been a good friend of Phan and she thought his talents were being wasted as he was out of work for a few years.

"I asked him and one thing led to another," Phan said.

Phan's family has a few restaurants in Virginia and Seattle, but she confesses she "doesn't know how to cook." She currently has four employees and is looking for more.

The sea-blue walls and peaceful Oriental music immediately put one at ease upon entering Pho Place, which looks out onto a yet undeveloped plot of the Ridge.

"We have a very good atmosphere, everything is new and we try to decorate in a more contemporary theme," Phan said. "I feel really good about the space and hopefully everyone will come to try."

Phan came to the United States from Vietnam in 1986. She is married and has one small child. "My husband helps me run the business, without him I cannot do it," she said.

"It's been very good the last few weeks, we're very excited and very appreciative of everyone supporting us," said Phan, who lives in Auburn but frequently visits her sister living on the Ridge, the perfect place for a business, she always thought.

"I love the people up here so much, they're so nice," Phan said. "I love the area. When I came to visit the area almost every weekend I felt Snoqualmie needed a little bit more diversity. I feel that this is a good opportunity to introduce a new kind of food, plus my sister needed a place to eat every day."

Phan said Pho Place has been received very well by Ridge dwellers "even though we are kind of different. Everyone is so sweet and nice."

Pho Place is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (425) 888-6800 for information.

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