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Aug 12, 2008 09:14 AM

Saigon Plaza & Phở 38 in Pennsauken: Opening Soon?

Does anyone know when the new supermarket and Phở 38 will be (re)opening? For those that don't know they're on Route 38 about 5 minutes from Philly. It's in a strip mall that used to house Saigon Vietnamese (a.k.a. Phở Hà Route 38 / Phở 38) and also a 24 hour florist (until the florist was busted for being a mob front). After the florist closed, the strip mall was gutted, the restaurant renovated, and the florist turned into a Vietnamese supermarket. It looks like they're almost done stocking the supermarket, so I'm anxious to know when they'll be open.

I am in Camden a few days every week so I can't wait until another lunch place opens up...

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  1. Pho 38 is open, and the grocery store is opening on Aug 20 (so says a sign in the window). I stopped over there on Sunday morning, and Pho 38 was open at 10:00; I only saw Vietnamese people coming in and out and even at that hour there were a fair number of people there. The restaurant looks fairly large. There is also another Pho place opening on 38 in Cherry Hill, just east of the CH Mall. It's on the westbound side of 38, in a strip shopping center with a Chinese restaurant, a Kosher Vegetarian restaurant, a Thai place, and Nicky B's Pizza. Quite a combo, no?

    1. I hope Pho 38 is A LOT cleaner than it used to be. Had an OK meal there in 2004 or 2005, but place was not clean. Went back in '06 and noticed the same splashes of brown sauce had not been cleaned off the wall. Ewww! Got up and left before ordering because water glasses looked filthy.

      Though I'm looking fwd to checking out what's in the new market.

      Didn't know Flower World was a mob front. Like to know more about that...

      1 Reply
      1. re: CPaul

        The new Pho 38 is brand new, so I assume it's clean!
        I didn't know about the Flower World being a mob front either, but a friend and I always suspected that it was. I was in there several times, and it was a very strange place with all sorts of crap. They never seemed to move any inventory and the plants outside were rarely watered. The guy who owned it owned a house that was the subject of controversy in Voorhees. His house was right on Haddonfield Berlin Road and he had a fire truck and a tiny pond with 2 swans in it, along with all sorts of monuments. The house is now abandoned and appears overtaken with weeds. The swans are gone, so I don't know what the story was there.

      2. I and a bunch of my coworkers went to the restaurant for lunch today. It's all brand new inside: the place appears to have been completely gutted and renovated. Everything was really clean. There were a few flies, though, but that's not entirely surprising. The new layout seems much airier and open than before. There is a large flat screen TV with what appears to be a karaoke machine. The menus are huge and HEAVY. After taking our orders, the waiter stacked our menus on a nearby empty table. The weight of our menus caused one of the solid wood legs of the table to crack in half.

        I was actually quite surprised at the quality of the food: it is much better than how I remember it used to be. I got the "everything" Phở (which, with ingredients like tripe, can sometimes be a gamble) and it was excellent. The majority of the patronage seemed to be Vietnamese, which—my Vietnamese coworker pointed out—was evidenced by the fact that literally *all* of the cars in the parking lot were of Japanese brands.

        As for more information on the nature of Flower World's closing, I'd rather not perpetuate any myths. What I do know is that about a year or two ago I *seem* to recall hearing a news story on the radio about a mob-run drug ring being busted in Pennsauken. Around that same time a friend of mine told me that Flower World had been busted for being a drug front. I'm not sure of the provenance of my friend's claim, but at the time it was corroborated by the story I heard on the radio so I didn't care to investigate further. Some quick google searches haven't revealed anything relevant, though, so I have no idea what actually happened to the place.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SyntaxPC

          Is it BYOB? And, is the menu the same as before; are there different owners? I wasn't too crazy about Pho 38, but I used to eat there once a week when it was Saigon Cafe.

        2. I stopped by to check it out yesterday, having recently moved to SJ from Philly Chinatown and missing my Phở fix. I had lunch first; a big bowl of the special Phở, which was superb. The red vinegar they have as one of the sauce options was something they didn't have at my local place in Philly, and they were also more generous with the tendon, although that could vary depending on what they have most of. I also tried the salted lemonade, which was good but slightly artificial-tasting. After lunch, I stopped over to the market and bought a variety of innards and interesing meat and seafood. I am actually going to stop by again shortly to buy some herbs and spices to go in the black chicken soup I plan to make with the silkie I picked up.

          Delighted to have something like this so close!