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Pho Tay Ho: Vietnamese Food to Satisfy Your Cravings

Pho Tay Ho is certainly a restaurant to keep in mind the next time you’re deciding where to go out to eat.
Restaurant Pho Tay Ho (Courtesy of Haley Freeman)


From the outside, Pho Tay Ho appears like an unassuming suburban home. Found on the corner of South Main Street and Quayle Avenue in Ballpark, it’s tucked away from the bustle of State Street. The only thing that reveals it as being anything besides a house is the lettering above the door that reads “Pho Tay Ho Vietnamese Restaurant.”

A Welcoming Dining Experience

Pho Tay Ho is the physical manifestation of the dreams of owner, Mai. It took years of hard work and overcoming obstacles for the restaurant to get to where it is today. Through it all, Mai’s passion for good simple food keeps her dream alive.

This passion is evident in the service at the restaurant. There’s care in the way Mai comes and clears an abandoned table, bowl by bowl. She is sure to not spill a thing. In typical restaurants, we’re used to seeing bussers laden their arms with dishes to clear the table as quickly, and perhaps as haphazardly as possible. 

Upon entering Pho Tay Ho, customers are greeted warmly with a big smile and “Welcome!” from the Mai’s daughter, Michelle. While Michelle remains up front assisting patrons, her mother is busy at work in the kitchen, dutifully preparing meals.

Pho Tay Ho’s Shrimp and Beef Spring Rolls (Courtesy Haley Freeman)

As a mother-daughter-run-restaurant, Pho Tay Ho makes its customers aware that it’s short-staffed on its website. A response to a FAQ asking why the restaurant closes so early says, “Mama Mai and her daughter, Michelle will sometimes work until 5 a.m. in the morning to make the laborious pho broth. Closing up ensures they can get everything cleaned up and ready for the next day.”

Diners are expected to service themselves in regards to setting their own places with napkins and utensils. This allows Mai and Michelle to focus on what really matters in a restaurant — the food. Their staffing struggles doesn’t stop Mai and Michelle from being as welcoming as possible as they prepare quality meals.

Comfort Food for Everyone 

The menu is slightly limited, Pho Tay Ho clearly knows exactly what it wants to serve. What they do, they do it well. Rather than offering a plethora of meals, Pho Tay Ho prioritizes quality over quantity.

Steak and Flank Pho (Courtesy Haley Freeman)

Mai opened Pho Tay Ho with the hope of creating a menu that is “very simple, but focused.” Pho, a Vietnamese dish consisting of rice noodles, and different cuts of meat and vegetables is the main entrée. It can be complemented by various appetizers originating from different Asian cultures.

The spring rolls were light and refreshing, with delicate slices of beef, rice noodles, shrimp and cilantro wrapped securely in rice paper. It can be assumed that every item on the menu is made with an equal amount of care and expertise.

The entire dining experience felt intimate. It’s somewhere you can go to chat comfortably with friends over a hearty bowl of pho. With delicious pho and a welcoming environment, Pho Tay Ho is certainly a restaurant to keep in mind the next time you’re deciding where to go out to eat.


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About the Contributor
Grier Abercrombie, Arts Writer
(she/her) Grier Abercrombie is a sophomore studying English and computer science. Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, she grew up going to the beach, playing the piano and video games, and reading, all of which are things she still loves to do.

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