Wat da Pho lives up to its catchy name by offering authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
By Ginny McCabe
Wat da Pho has quickly become a popular lunch and dinner destination for authentic, made-to-order Vietnamese cuisine. The creative name of the restaurant attracts guests, but it’s the modern décor in the dining room, the fast, friendly service and the taste and quality of the food that keeps them coming back.
Wat da Pho first opened in January of 2017. Co-owners Steven Huynh, 27, and An Le, 29, bought and took over the restaurant in March of 2018. Wat da Pho, a nearly 2,500-square-foot restaurant that seats 53 guests, is conveniently located near the Mall at Fairfield Commons at 3464 Pentagon Blvd., Suite C in Beavercreek.
“Pho is a traditional Vietnamese dish,” says Huynh. “There’s a lot of ‘What the Pho’ names for Vietnamese restaurants all over the United States, but the way it’s spelled like this, ‘Wat da Pho,’ this is the only one in the United States. There is another restaurant with the same spelling, but it is in Australia.”
Wat da Pho’s specialty is everything pho. Pronounced “fuh,” pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. Pho is one of the main dishes that Wat da Pho serves, and customers love it.
Additionally, the restaurant features other soups, subs, noodle dishes, rice dishes and stir-fried Lo Mein along with a wide variety of appetizers. Wat da Pho also offers vegetarian and vegan choices with more than 15 meatless selections available on the menu.
In addition to the appetizers and entrees, guests can choose from a number of desserts and specialty drinks such as flavored Bubble Tea, Sunset, Rainbow and Cackling Buddha, to name a few. Upon visiting I was served complimentary hot tea.
I stopped in on a weekday afternoon and had a positive experience from the moment I walked in to when I left. I ordered a fried egg roll ($3.95 for 3 rolls) and crab-rangoon ($3.75 for four pieces.) I thoroughly enjoyed these delicious appetizers.
Then, I decided on a junior portion of “Wat da Pho,” which is pho with beef brisket and steak (two sizes are offered, a junior for $9.75 and a regular portion for $11.25.) This healthy, broth-based soup is made with rice noodles, cilantro, green onion, white onion and served with a side of bean sprouts, cilantro and fresh lime. If desired, guests can add a sweet or a hot sauce.
“We have a lot of unique dishes that guests can try,” says Huynh. “An’s family has a lot of experience in the Vietnamese restaurant business. His grandma has a Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago and they’ve owned it for over 20 years. Our pho is really authentic and that recipe comes from the Le family,” says Huynh.
Le says he has learned a lot from his family. When it comes to cooking and perfecting his family recipes Le is one of the restaurant’s main chefs. He works alongside his uncle, who shares some of the chef duties at Wat da Pho. The restaurant often has five people working in the kitchen during a peak time like lunch and has three to four servers attending to the dining room.
“Our mission is to try to make it as quick as possible, but the taste and the quality of the food are just as important,” says Le. “Many of our customers come from the base and other local businesses and they only have 30 to 45 minutes for lunch so we try to get the food out to them in a matter of minutes.
As a business owner involved in the day-to-day responsibilities Le says he’s had to learn some new things. He handles various customer service aspects and answers questions about the food.
Huynh oversees the inventory, hiring, payroll, taxes and other paperwork and he helps with food preparation, as needed. His expertise in marketing and social media are other skills he uses as a hands-on, co-owner. In addition to his role at the restaurant, Huynh has a background in mechanical engineering. Both Le and Huynh live in Huber Heights.
“Teamwork is important and we work together to make sure everything is good for our guests,” Le says. “Steven is a great business partner and things are going well. This is our first business and we’ve had to learn every aspect of the business. So far, we’ve been successful.”
Built on a fast and casual concept, Wat da Pho has an inviting dining space. Three big-screen televisions sit above the front counter. Diners can come in and seat themselves at tables and chairs. The flooring is concrete. Overall, the dining room has a contemporary-warehouse feel, accented by the Wat da Pho theme.
Wat da Pho serves patrons from Wright State University, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Soin Medical Center and many other area businesses. The restaurant is located behind Sam’s Club in a retail center with Eye Mart and The Wharf and joins the active dining scene in the area, along with other popular establishments like BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Chuy’s Tex Mex and Primanti Bros., among others.
Wat da Pho offers a 15 percent discount to active military when dining in. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays. Connect with Wat da Pho online at watdaphorestaurant.com, or call 956-6060. Visit them on Facebook @Watdaphobeavercreek.