Vo said she first learned to cook by baking for her family as a child. From there she said she worked through simple recipes before experimenting with different ingredients and preparations that developed her love for cooking.
“I like to create my own things,” Vo said. “Every time I cooked and my food come[s] out, people liked it—[and were] happy to eat. That’s what I enjoy.”
Vo said she maintained her enthusiasm for cooking and considered opening a restaurant as she grew older. Although she managed her own beauty spa in Amarillo for 15 years, she continued to sharpen her cooking skills by preparing food for her children and salon employees. Vo and her family moved to Spring in 2016, where she said the idea of opening a restaurant resurfaced.
“Everybody [said,] ‘Oh, you cook so good, why don’t you open your restaurant for your own?’” Vo said. “In 2016 I [was] thinking about that. I said, ‘We’ve been doing the beauty stuff for a while, so I might make my dream come true.’”
Opening a business serving the still-developing area around the Birnham Woods Marketplace initially proved challenging. Vo said she worked many 20-hour days after TT Pho’s launch in June 2018, but the restaurant has since caught on with regulars and new customers alike.
Diners can find traditional Vietnamese items, such as lemongrass beef, banh mi sandwiches and egg noodle stir-fry plates on the menu as well as salads, chicken wings and smoothies. The namesake pho noodle soup, which Vo highlighted as her favorite dish to prepare and eat, is the restaurant’s most popular entree, she said.
Some of the food has a sweeter taste inspired by Vo’s southern Vietnamese heritage, and it is all made from scratch according to traditional Vietnamese preparation methods that do not use frozen foods. Vo said her meticulous side is also on display in TT Pho’s kitchen. Despite her responsibilities as owner, she said she also has a hand in preparing most of the dishes that are served at the restaurant every day.
“I carefully do everything. I’m really picky. Food, every time before they bring it out to the customer, I have to check,” she said. “I don’t want to step away when they’re doing my stuff.”
Vo said she appreciates the support TT Pho has received from its local customers since opening, and she has adjusted the taste of some of her dishes based on community feedback. While Vo said she is happy with her current menu and the restaurant is consistently packed on weekends, she hopes to offer more dining options and attract more business throughout the week as TT Pho’s presence grows in the future.
“Later on, I want to do an update, [add] more dishes on my menu, to do more food, more different tradition from our country to American people to let them know more about Vietnam,” Vo said.
This article ran in the December 2019 edition of The Woodlands. Read the full e-edition here.