Advertisement

Saigon’s Corner is set to open in the Old Capitol Town Center on Jan. 29

  • 315
    Shares

Tyler Pham, at Saigon’s Corner in Old Capitol Mall — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Tyler Pham, the chef who helped make pho popular in the Iowa City area, is opening a second location of his restaurant, Saigon’s Corner, in the Old Capitol Town Center on Tuesday. Pham was a partner in Pho Zaika and I Love Pho, before striking out on his own and starting Saigon’s Corner in Coralville last year.

“I felt like I was ready to show people here what authentic Vietnamese food is,” Pham told Little Village about his decision to open Saigon’s Corner. “I feel a lot of the Vietnamese food Americans are familiar with is different from it really is in Vietnam.”

Members of Pham’s family have worked in restaurants in his native Vietnam for decades. It’s where he learned to make the pho that’s the main attraction at his restaurant.

“Pho is everywhere in Vietnam,” Pham said. “It’s just a part of everybody’s life. Like hamburgers here.”

Of course, pho, a soup with rice noodles and, usually, meat, is more versatile than a hamburger.

“You can eat it any time,” Pham said. “When the weather is cold, you need hot soup. When the weather is hot and you’re tired, the hot soup will make you feel better. It’s good for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

The key to good pho is the broth, and good broth takes time, Pham explained.

“We make the pho broth starting with beef bones,” Pham said. “You can come into my kitchen any time of the day, and you will find it cooking, low and slow.”

The broth simmers for a minimum of 24 hours before it’s ready.

“It takes a lot of care and attention,” Pham said.

The new Saigon’s Corner will be located in the former Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack space in the Old Capitol Town Center. Pham said he intends to keep the basic set-up of the restaurant the same.

“I think it’s comfortable,” Pham said. “And it’s important for the people to be comfortable when they are enjoying their food.”

That attitude won’t surprise anyone who has been to the Coralville location, where Pham is known as a genial and attentive host.

Pho at Saigon’s Corner in Coralville. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

“I came to America to study electrical engineer, but I wasn’t happy doing that,” Pham said. “I couldn’t find any pho [when I was a student], so I started cooking pho myself.”

“My love for serving people authentic Vietnamese food has grown over the years,” he said. “It’s become my passion.”

“I love being in the mall,” Pham added. “I feel I’m ready to make Vietnamese food more popular in this area.”


  • 315
    Shares

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep it free.

Voluntary contributions from readers like you help keep Little Village free for everyone.

Please consider a one-time or monthly sustaining contribution, in any amount.

Advertisement

MISSION CREEK FESTIVAL APRIL 2-7, 2019
MUSIC • LITERATURE • COMMUNITY

America’s intimate festival experience featuring cutting-edge music, the Midwest’s premier indie book fair, and readings and community happenings across downtown Iowa City.

Advertisement

Dinner of Champions, March 29, 2018 (Liz Zabel / GO Cedar Rapids)

Friday, Feb. 22 - Mar. 2, 2019

Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week returns Friday, February 22 - March 2, 2019. Foodies unite over delicious, limited time dishes at specialty prices! Follow along with #CRRestaurantWeek.

Take a look at the nearly 20 restaurants participating in Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week 2019, and prep your taste buds for a feast!

Participants

These nine days of local restaurant love will be kicked off with a special preview event, Fork & Knife Feast. Preview the participating restaurant's culinary concoctions, samples from local breweries, distilled products and wines will be on site, plus a full bar.

Buy Tickets

Little Village's
BEST OF THE CRANDIC

The results are in! Find out which of your favorite CR and IC haunts took home a prize.