Aaron Duong and his wife, Tuyen Vu, opened Kim’s Pho and Grill on Louetta Road last July. Duong said his family ran a restaurant in its home country of Vietnam more than 30 years ago.
“Running a restaurant has been a family tradition for a very long time,” Duong said. “We’ve had some of these recipes for 50 years.”
After moving to Houston in 1993, members of the family spent years working at various restaurants and saving money. The Kim in the restaurant’s name is Duong’s mother, who serves as the head cook both in the restaurant and within the family, Duong said.
As its name suggests, the restaurant specializes in Vietnamese dishes, namely pho—a noodle soup—and traditional meals made on the grill, such as vermicelli dishes. Duong said he tries to keep a tight menu so his team can focus on doing what they do well.
“We grill everything on the spot; we don’t believe in regrilling or microwaving,” Duong said. “We grill the same way we eat at home. Everything is homemade.”
Duong said Vietnamese food differs in the northern and southern parts of the Vietnam. He said his restaurant is more southern, meaning the dishes have more of an emphasis on fresh vegetables.
Kim’s also offers a variety of drinks, including Vietnamese coffee, flavored and milk teas, fresh fruit smoothies and freshly squeezed juices.
The response from the community within the first year has been very supportive, Duong said, starting from the day Kim’s opened. He said it can be hard work running the restaurant, especially when serving everything fresh is an imperative, but he said the community support has made it all worth it.
“Being able to continue the family business after 23 years of dreaming about it, finally being able to share this with customers and see their support, it is just so awesome,” Duong said.