Monday, March 10, 2014
The dining room at PHOever Maine/Courtesy photo
Portland resident Truc Huynh and his sister-in-law Mai Huynh will open Westbrook's first Vietnamese restaurant at 100 Larrabee Rd. on Friday, May 31. In the former Top Dogs location, PHOever Maine will serve "Southern Vietnamese comfort food": pho, banh mi, grill rice, noodle bowls and stir-fries. The restaurant will have a full bar and offer local beers.
The Huynh family emigrated from Vietnam as refugees in 1989. Truc's father worked for Barber Foods in Portland, while his mother worked as a housekeeper while raising their six children in the city. "After many years of encouragement from friends and family we decided to start PHOever Maine and share our love of Vietnamese food with you and your family," Truc said in a press release. Before settling on the whimsical name, he and Mai tried out a few others, including "PhoGasmic, Pho Refugees, PhoGetAboutiT, Pho Score & 7 Eggrolls Ago, and Phofever. Ultimately we settled on PHOever Maine because we wanted something that pays tribute to the great State that we live in now while at the same time honor our past from Vietnam."
Also on the menu, which references famous Maine people, places and institutions in the names of several of its dishes, are two "Weekend Warrior Challenges." Diners who finish the Cathedral Abol of Pho in 30 minutes or less without leaving their table get their meal free and their photo on the "PHOReal Wall of Fame." Those who finish the Westbrook Blue Blaze, "a bowl of pho from hell" in 10 minutes and "suffer through 5 minutes of pain at your table," get the same perks. If you fail at either challenge, your photo goes up on the "PHOGetAboutIt Wall of Shame."
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.