Pho Bar & Grill held its grand opening on Saturday, October 15, with crowds gathering at the corner bar and Asian restaurant in the Batdorf building for the 11 a.m. opening.
The restaurant is a new venture run jointly by four friends: Lux Chhen (bar manager/owner), Mackara Chhen (manager), Thanh Thach (chef/owner) and
Koy Loeung (manager).
When LebTown spoke with Lux Chhen just before the doors opened to customers for the grand opening, Chhen said he felt good about everything, with many months of preparation behind him.
Almost the entire space at 103 W. Main St. has been updated, he said, including the floor and ceiling.
More recently, Ted’s d’Annville operated a bar and grill in the space. The building takes its name from the Batdorf department store, which once stood here. It was also the original location of the Rotunda (at the time known as Batdorf).
Chhen said he was a history buff and started digging into his story, aided by the digital archives kept by Friends of Old Annville.
Pho Bar & Grill’s menu includes a range of starters (beef carpaccio, beef and chicken skewers, butterfly prawns, etc.), rice platters (bulgogi beef and grilled pork) and starters (fried rice with prawns and pad thai).
There are also a few specialties (see below) and a range of tea and drink options such as boba (aka bubble) tea and Vietnamese-style French coffee.
Chhen said the menu will be dynamic and focused on street food. It starts small as they get up and running, but Chhen expects the menu to grow every month as the kitchen becomes cozier.
Pho is the “ultimate street food,” Chhen said — even if it’s not called that, drawing a line between kuytiew from Cambodia or even ramen from Japan.
“Almost like a Chicago-style pizza compared to a New York-style pizza. At the end of the day, the ingredients are the same and the way you put them together is different.
If you prefer a sandwich, Pho Bar & Grill offers its banh mi, one of many Vietnamese and Cambodian dishes that reflect the region’s French ties – with a crispy baguette supporting delicious charcuterie, pâtés and fresh produce. . vegetables.
For pho at Pho Bar & Grill, the two main ingredients are beef and time. It’s a two-day process to simmer the beef long enough for it to have the high-octane umami flavor that pho is known for. It also stinks great thanks to star anise and cinnamon.
Cambodian and Vietnamese street food was a starting point for thinking about the menu, but they’re going to limit it to that.
A good example of this would be Chhen’s other favorite menu item, Korean Chicken, which was inspired by his time in Philadelphia.
“We think it’s unique to this region, and the wings are a universal language,” Chhen said. “Everybody loves wings.”
Chhen said he was still looking for a handful of other staff, but was very grateful to his friends and family for helping him get started.
The reception in Annville has also been great, Chhen said.
Pho Bar & Grill is set up with a dozen beers on tap, including Troegs, with more local and specialty options on the way – think sake bombs, maybe a Sapporo or a Tiger on tap, things you can find in big cities but not usually around.
Mackara Chhen said the partners wanted Pho Bar & Grill to stay as local as possible.
Lux Chhen said that although food is not new to him or the other partners, they are relatively new as a group in the restaurant industry.
“We try to grow slowly, but steadily,” Chhen said.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Tuesday. Reservations are not currently being taken, but expect that to change in the near future. Find more information at PhoBarAndGrill.com or on Facebook.
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