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My Great Grandparents were originally from Nam Dinh, Vietnam (the birth place of Pho) and in 1954, moved south to Saigon where they owned a fish sauce company. It was here that my Great Grandmother, Nguyen Thi Daio, began working on creating her own Pho and Vietnamese recipes. In 1975, shortly after the Vietnam war ended, my Great Grandparents left Vietnam to seek out a better life for their family in America. They could not speak English and came over with only the clothes they were wearing and a catalog of amazing Vietnamese recipes. They first planted their roots in Colorado then slowly migrated over to Orange County, California since they had heard that a Vietnamese community was developing.

In 1982 my Grandmother and one of her brothers partnered up to open our first family-owned Vietnamese restaurant, Pho 79. With much hard work, dedication and the ability to adapt to changes, Pho 79 became a great success. They added the number “79” to the restaurant’s name, after a popular Pho restaurant located on 79th street in Vietnam. They felt it helped them stay connected to their far away home.

Through the years, my Grandma and four of her brothers either owned or partnered up to run four different restaurants. Over time, each of the four brothers retired and closed their location with no succession from each respective family. As a result, to date, only my Grandma’s family consisting of my Dad and his four sisters still operate our family-owned restaurant.

In August of 2015 we started working on our second restaurant, Pho 101 and opened it in April 2017. The name is a play on the term used by introductory level college courses (e.g. “Psychology 101”). We noticed that many Vietnamese restaurants located in Little Saigon, the largest Vietnamese community in Orange County, were intimidating to non-native Vietnamese-speaking people since most hire Vietnamese employees with poor English skills. This sometimes created a language barrier that led to not-so-great service. With this in mind, we decided to simplify our Pho 101 menu which will guide first-timers on the basics of Pho such as how to order, what add-ons are available, how to customize your bowl, etc… Additionally, we train and ensure that our wait staff can accurately and clearly explain Pho and all of our Vietnamese menu items so there is never any confusion. We also decided to kick it up a notch and have created a modern, fun environment with a family-friendly atmosphere that we’re sure everyone will enjoy.

We look forward to another long and successful family restaurant with Pho 101 and can’t wait for you and your family to join us!

Christopher Tran
Owner/Manager Pho 101