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PHX: Pho Bang Closing

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I ate lunch today at Pho Bang at 17th Ave & Camelback. The experience was the same as it has been consistently for the last few years -- good food, lousy service, shabby environment. One of the owners did take the time to tell me, however, that the restaurant is closing its doors tomorrow. After 17 years in business, they've decided it's time to quit. They've sold the place to someone else who will rename it and open another Vietnamese restaurant at the same location. Let's hope the place gets thoroughly cleaned before reopening. I have fond memories of going to Pho Bang when if first opened circa 1992 and hope the new place brings back some of what has been missing the last few years.

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Pho Bang Restaurant
1702 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85015

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  1. I would say it's a shame, but I haven't been there in over 4 years. I like dives as much as the next person, but it was a bit much. Add in the super surly service, and there are better options. Davang, Avina's, Maxim, and Cyclo pop immediately to mind.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Firenza00

      Agreed. I'm somewhat nostalgic because Pho Bang, along with Da Vang, was among the first generation of Vietnamese restaurants in Alhambra, which was the part of Phoenix with the greatest concentration of southeast Asian food 20 years ago. Now, there are a lot more options -- not only nearby competitors like Pho Bang and Maxim, but also elsewhere in the area -- especially along Dobson Road.

    2. Remember before the anti-smoking laws? That place was an ashtray

      I will miss it though too.

      6 Replies
      1. re: yamalam

        So was Da Vang. It's funny how Da Vang still sells cigarettes at the counter, even though they can no longer be smoked on the premises.

        That's a bygone era, though. Newer places like Pho Loc and the various Dobson Rd. Vietnamese places all seem spic-and-span and never touched by tobacco.

        1. re: silverbear

          I never appreciated Pho Bang's appeal; several cuts below other places in town, IMO. I hope the new place improves on it, which shouldn't be difficult.

          1. re: silverbear

            I wasn't sure to start a new thread or not, but I just had Pho Loc for lunch today... and if you're talking about the 19th ave and Northern restaurant, I would vote to pass on it. I ordered a bowl of Bun Bo Hue and a Sua Dau Nahn (soy bean milk) ~$11. Was handed a 12 oz can and a glass of ice for $2.00, no refills. The Bun was tasty enough, but I probably got about 2oz of actual beef, and the rest was pork knuckles and the blood cubes. The weirdest service of my life too... no greeting, no refills, just handed a menu with a borderline intimidating stare from my server.

            1. re: Namius

              Hmm. That hasn't been my experience at Pho Loc. It's not perfect, but I've had good food and service on multiple visits. Maybe an off day.

              1. re: Namius

                That service level is actually what I got used to when I lived in Dallas. I went to dozens of Vietnamese places there and most had servers that friendly. :) Even the place I frequented most. The food was fantastic and wicked cheap, so I put up with the surly attitude.

                1. re: Firenza00

                  Ha ha Firenza, so true. I guess the bun bo hue being 7.95 I was anticipating the train and not the car. As explanation for that, a fun conversation with a server @ Da Vang: for a larger bowl it is called xe lua= a train so I said I wasn't that hungry, just make mine a xe hoi = car, i.e. honda civic). I can honestly say I left Pho Loc still craving food, and was tempted to stop by the Vietnamese restaurant kitty corner, but I had to get back to work. I will say that Pho Loc was top 10% of all Viet restos I've been to in terms of cleanliness and decoration. And par for the course in terms of service. :-)

                  Silverbear, I'll try it again and hopefully have a more favorable impression.