A brand-new Vietnamese restaurant, Just Pho You, is having its soft-opening on Monday, March 28 at 12pm. The eatery is located at 2656 Broadway, between 100th and 101st streets. The space was formerly occupied by Yu Kitchen, which closed in October. (Thanks to Laurie Marshall of Trademarks the Spot for the tip.)
ILTUWS spoke with the restaurant’s owner, Wan Chen, who lives on West 89th Street. “The menu is really simple,” she said. “I only put the best of the best on the menu.”
One of her recommendations is her chicken wing with lemongrass butter appetizer — a 6 piece platter for $12.
She’s also excited to offer her pho broth with oxtail and bone marrow ($22). “You can only taste this in a really traditional Vietnamese family,” remarked Chen, who went on to describe her cuisine as “really authentic.”
Chen, 38, grew up working at restaurants before testing the waters as a cosmetic personal shopper for Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. “Opening a restaurant was always my dream,” said Chen, who was also the manager of Han Dynasty on West 85th Street before making plans to open Just Pho You.
Chen is also the president of Public Safety Patrol, a civilian patrol team established in 2021 to help combat Asian hate crimes in Flushing, Queens. Wan Chen and the organization has been featured on BBC News and NBC New York.
While Chen is of Chinese descent, she’s long loved Vietnamese cooking. She grew up in Boston where her ex-boyfriend’s family owns an authentic Vietnamese restaurant. Chen says she always felt “spoiled” growing up with exposure to this cuisine, which inspired her to bring the best of what she’s learned to the Upper West Side.
“I love the neighborhood. I love the people. I think they deserve the best of the best,” Chen told us.
Joining the team is Keung Lee as head chef. Lee has worked at three other Vietnamese restaurants, and he’s technically ‘retired,’ but a mutual friend introduced him to Chen — and now he’s helping her fulfill her dream of owning a Vietnamese restaurant.
There’s no alcohol on Just Pho You’s menu, but they do offer Vietnamese coffee and Jasmine hot tea, along with soda and sparkling water.
To learn more and to view the menu, please visit JustPhoYou.com.