A piece of Old Austin is giving way to a hot new commodity with a fervent customer base.
Vietnamese cafe Pho Please on East Riverside Drive is an enigma. It is somehow still not on a lot of people’s radars while also being one of the most consistently busy spots in town. Maybe it’s the restorative pho, the enormous banh mi, the prompt and friendly service or the restaurant’s location, in a strip mall surrounded by residents and office workers with limited options, or some combination of all of the above that has helped it create such a loyal following.
Tien Do and her husband, chef Anh Nguyen, who has worked at many of Austin's top Vietnamese cafes over the years, opened the restaurant in 2016 and landed one of the top spots on our list of best bánh mì in Austin last year.
Following three years of success, they are ready to branch out. The couple has purchased the property on West 29th Street formerly owned by Pat Mares and Ruby’s BBQ and will eventually open a new concept, Sip Pho.
Tien Do says they are still in the creative stages of developing the concept, menu and branding but that Sip Pho will be a pho restaurant similar to Pho Please.
Mares and her late husband, Luke Zimmermann, opened the barbecue restaurant at 512 W. 29th St. in 1988. In addition to being a campus-area institution and a trailblazer in using quality beef, Ruby’s at one time was also a regular haunt for musicians like Albert Collins and Maceo Parker who played at neighboring Antone’s.
From 2018: Best bánh mì in Austin: Pho Please ($3) | Ruby’s BBQ near the University of Texas is closing after almost 30 years
From 2013: Ruby’s BBQ celebrates 25 smokin’ years