Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

Vietnamese food vendor moving into Downtown Market

June 28, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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Pho616 pho bowl
Pho616 is an "authentic" Vietnamese eatery. Courtesy Pho616

The Downtown Market will welcome a new Vietnamese food vendor this summer.

Pho616 is slated to open in the Downtown Market, at 435 Ionia Ave. SW, led by owners Ty Nguyen and Han Lee.

The pair will make pho noodle soup, banh mi, summer rolls and other specialties, as well as run a shop with Asian produce.

The kitchen, led by head chef — and Nguyen’s mother — Cam Loan Nguyen, will use a family recipe for the pho broth, which takes 12 hours to make. The family formerly ran a pho restaurant on 28th Street.

A traditional pho is a broth-based soup with noodles, beef and pork, with a combination of lime, basil, bean sprouts, chives, jalapenos, hoisin and sriracha.

“We are both passionate about Asian culture and authentic food, as opposed to American fusion versions of traditional dishes,” Ty Nguyen said. “We want people to know who’s making their food and that it’s made with love from the freshest ingredients every single day.”

The menu will also feature a seasonal dish and dessert option, and hot and iced Vietnamese coffee will be made — a strong coffee drink made with condensed milk.

“We want to keep the menu simple without too many variations, because Vietnamese cuisine gets its amazing complexity from all the ingredients working together, blending the flavors and aromas,” Lee said. “There’s so much texture and nuanced taste in each bite, and we want people to experience that authentic version, exactly as it was meant to be.”

The grocery section at Pho616 will feature produce — such as mangosteen, pomelo, jackfruit, dragonfruit, starfruit, lychee and durian — as well as sauces, drinks and ceramic dish sets.

“Han' and Ty’s enthusiasm for carrying on this family recipe is inspiring, and we are thrilled they decided to open the first pho shop in downtown Grand Rapids here at the market,” Downtown Market President and CEO Mimi Fritz said.

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