BERLIN — For some local restaurateurs, food is a family affair.
With the help of her mother, Pathana Savannakhet, aunt Bouangern Singkhamlon, and other family members, Jessica Rodriguez opened a new dining spot in town.
The Pho Bar, 224 Berlin Turnpike, specializes in traditional Thai and Vietnamese dishes, such as pho — a clear soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and either beef, chicken, seafood or veggies.
Other menu items include egg rolls, dumplings, chicken wings, customizable fried rice and stir-fried noodle bowls, as well as seven bubble tea flavors. For dessert, try fried ice cream. During the spring and summer seasons, the bar also serves Thai mango sticky rice.
“We wanted to break away from the traditional Thai and Vietnamese dining experience. We wanted to bring something more streamline,” said Rodriguez. “We wanted to bring more fresh, natural, earthy vibes.”
The dining area has spacious tables, modern light fixtures, creative wallscape, and ample natural sunlight.
“The space was completely empty when we first found it. We combined ideas together and piece by piece, created this great interior,” said Rodriguez’s mother.
The restaurant follows an open kitchen concept so the customers can watch the culinary process every step of the way.
“Especially during COVID-19, you want to see people who are making your food and how they are making it,” said Rodriguez. “It’s also entertaining. Sometimes it can be like ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ when we are just yelling at each other like crazy.”
Rodriguez constantly strives to improve the food quality and always welcomes feedback from the customers. After serving authentic Thai and Vietnamese dishes for years, she knows how important it is to get every single meal “just right.”
Rodriguez first got a taste of the restaurant industry when she began helping her mother run her two Thai Cuisine eateries, one in Canton and another in Rocky Hill. After her mother sold both restaurants, Rodriguez decided to open up her own place.
“I want to retire and if it was my restaurant I know that I would always have to be here,” said Rodriguez’s mother. “But now I know it’s hers and I really want her to do well. She needs to focus and do whatever it takes to success.”
The Pho Bar is open everyday from 11 a.m. to 7.45 p.m. and offers takeout. For a full menu, go to thephobarct.com