Customers and delivery drivers shuffled in and out as the staff was busy answering phone calls and fulfilling orders, but it’s all in a day’s work at Phở Viet’s II, a family-owned restaurant that has been serving award-winning Vietnamese food to Newtonians for three years.
Kelly Tran, the restaurant’s owner, is a third-generation restaurateur. Tran said the family tradition started with her grandmother, who moved to America from Vietnam and worked as a chef in Boston’s Chinatown before opening her own restaurant.
Phở Viet’s II opened after the success of the original location, Phở Viet’s. The original, located at the Super 88 Food Court in Allston, has been a Boston staple since 2006. Multiple generations of Tran’s family have run both locations since their inception.
Tran said the food at Phở Viet’s II reminds her of her family and its importance.
Bánh mì, beef and chicken plates, and phở—a noodle dish for which the restaurant is named—are among the most popular items on the menu, according to Tran. The grilled lemongrass chicken breast with rice is popular among younger patrons.
The lemongrass chicken comes in a big portion, as do most items at Phở Viet’s. The deliciously spiced chicken lies on a bed of sticky rice with a side of vegetables that can be mixed into the rice.
Diners can also order the lemongrass beef, which comes with a similar assortment of ingredients. The restaurant serves the dish with fish sauce and chili sauce. Tran said she recommends adding the fish sauce to the rice but not pouring it over the chicken, as it already has ample spices. Those who like a little more spice in their food can add a dash of chili to their fish sauce.
Adem, a 27-year-old who works in Newton, said he loves stopping by Phở Viet’s II after work to pick up a sandwich.
“The Vietnamese sandwiches are great,” he said. “It’s basically the same price as a Philly cheesesteak or a roast beef these days, but you can’t compare the two. This is so much better—you know what I mean? It’s different.”
The restaurant had a capacity of 30 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it offers take-out and delivery only, as its centrally placed, open kitchen makes it difficult to accommodate indoor dining during the pandemic.
Despite the change to delivery and take-out only, Tran said the restaurant welcomed more patrons since the pandemic hit than it did prior.
“Our business has actually increased since doing delivery and takeout only,” Tran said. “We are very popular with students and families, especially in the evening. We always get bigger orders then.”
Newton resident Jennifer Nguyen said she went to the restaurant to pick up orders for her family.
“I don’t know how I’m gonna get this to the car,” Nguyen said with a laugh, referring to the multiple bags of takeout she was carrying.
Nguyen said that her mom likes the thick noodle soup with seafood. For herself, she ordered the curry tofu sauté, which she was trying out for the first time.
“Oh my god—I would totally recommend this place.” Nguyen said before rushing to her car with bags full of carry-out containers in her hand.
Phở Viet’s II is open for delivery and pickup from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant currently does not offer dine-in options.