“Saigon Pho was our home away from home, everyone was like family to us, it was not easy to say goodbye,” said Hai Tran, son of Saigon Pho owners Huynh and Tuyet Tran, “My parents’ authentic recipes and hospitality were the backbone of Saigon Pho, I am proud to be part of it.”
The Vietnamese restaurant was known for serving up steaming bowls of pho, comforting banh mi sandwiches, and fresh spring rolls opened in Forest Park a decade ago before moving to their Oak Park location in 2016.
Tran’s father, Huynh, whose family had been in the pho making business for many years, left Vietnam in 2004 to join his family in America. Language barriers made it difficult for him to find employment and the family opted to open a restaurant serving Vietnam’s most traditional foods.
The business supported the family, but now the Tran family is saying goodbye gracefully. In addition to admitting the pandemic had taken a significant toll on the business, Tran and his sister are poised to finish school and would like the opportunity to seek out their own adventures.
“My parents will enjoy their retirements, something that will take them a while to get used to,” said Tran. “To be honest, I have a feeling they might get out of retirement again in the near future.”
The Tran family, who have deep Oak Park roots, took the week leading up to the closure to give loyal customers a final chance to dine in or carry out their Saigon Pho favorites. Throughout the week a steady stream of customers visited the Lake St. restaurant to sit in the socially distant dining room or pick up carryout fare
“We will never forget the good memories everyone gave us here,” said Tran.