Words & Deeds

Boise restaurant closes, plans return elsewhere. A similar concept will open in its spot.

Boise just lost a pho restaurant, which seems like unwelcome news if you enjoy steaming bowls of slow-simmered goodness.

Except it’s not. To misquote “Seinfeld” (since Boise has Jerry on its brain): More soup for you!

Pho 208 & Vegan, which opened less than a year ago at 7310 W. State St., shuttered earlier this month. But it will reopen in spring at 3135 Cole Road, owner An Nguyen says. Pho 208 will be one of the new businesses at the soon-to-open Idaho Asian Plaza at Cole and Ustick roads. (Along with a rolled ice creamery; details further below.)

Meanwhile, if you live in West Boise, your pho shortage will be temporary.

A new Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Nguyen, is on schedule to open Nov. 10 in the vacated Pho 208 space. Owner Kelly Tran says the menu will include an authentic bowl of pho.

There’s already a sign installed outside Pho Nguyen, which sits between a Jimmy John’s franchise and the former Pizzalchik restaurant, whose space is empty.

The original Pho 208 & Vegan at 812 W. Fort St., which is mostly well-reviewed by the Yelp crowd, continues to serve meat eaters and vegetarians daily. It opened in 2016 next to the Boise Co-op in the North End.

Are you a local pho history buff? Then you’ve been waiting for this article to point out that long before Pho Nguyen and Pho 208 & Vegan made appearances at 7310 W. State St., that space held Idaho staple Pho 79 — for 15 years. It closed in 2018.

Oh, and one last notable bit of Asian cuisine news. Restaurateur An Nguyen plans to debut another new store, 208 Rolling Ice Cream, in the Idaho Asian Plaza when he reopens Pho 208. Serving rolled (or stir-fried) ice cream — along with boba and Vietnamese coffee — the shop will be located at 3139 Cole Road.

The name 208 Rolling Ice Cream is tentative, he adds.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.
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