Good pho is a perfect example of something that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a calming elixir, an undervalued silver bullet to wicked hangovers or a soup for cloudy days. Diana Tang and her team at Pho is for Lovers have been ensuring customers get what they need for over a decade.
Starting with her first location, which opened on Greenville Avenue at Lovers Lane in 2011, Tang has taken a multi-generational approach to keeping the broth flowing.
“There’s no secret.” Tang says, “It really is just hard work and consistency.”
There are currently two Pho is for Lovers locations, the one off Greenville and another on Renner Road, but two other locations have closed.
“We expanded pretty quickly,” Tang says. “It was very popular, so we opened up an Addison and an Allen location. We learned about being stretched too thin.”
The chaos involved in keeping four restaurants running smoothly, while maintaining a level of quality, became too much.
“There’s something new every day,” Tang says. “Equipment breaks. No deliveries because of something out of our control. It’s always putting out a fire. So, we narrowed it down to two stores, that way we can focus on our strength. The more we could control, the better.”
The menu at Pho is for Lovers contains four main categories: pho, banh mi and vermicelli-noodle and rice plates, plus sides.
With a simple selection, Tang and the kitchen crew can focus on buying elements of each dish as fresh as possible.
“With our stores so small, all of our deliveries come in daily,” Tang says.
From simmering the broth for over 12 hours, to slicing the fresh slaw that goes on top of each banh mi, the environment keeping the kitchen running smoothly makes just as big an impact on the final product as the menu itself. Finding and keeping employees is no easy task.
The restaurant’s employees include her two sisters and their husbands.
“Since we’ve opened, we’ve really kept almost all of our same employees,” she says. “In the kitchen we speak Vietnamese. With the new culture and new ways of online ordering and to go pho, we’ve kept up with that while maintaining a traditional kitchen.”
Tang has noticed that her customers’ loyalty has never wavered.
Tang says that her youngest sister has recently taken more control over the Lovers location, and there may be new items to come along with the change.
“We’re hoping to do some more things with specials,” Tang says. “Yellow curries, beef stews. Lots of authentic dishes that don’t get a lot of attention.”
Whatever the future has in store for Pho is for Lovers, Tang knows that the aspects that made them successful in the first place will always be there.
“Good vibes.” Tang laughs. “It’s inviting. It’s a fun brand. It’s love and positivity. Pho is for lovers.”Pho is for Lovers