A popular stretch of Guadalupe Street is getting a new look. Sip Pho, from the husband-and-wife team behind Riverside Drive’s popular Pho Please, will debut February 21 at 512 W. 29th St. — the site long-held by Ruby’s BBQ before it shuttered in February 2018.
A release notes that fans of Pho Please will find plenty of old favorites at Sip. Instead of drafting a menu from scratch, co-owners Anh Nguyen and Tien Do brought over many of the same offerings as the original shop, including the 15-hour bone broths. The new brand, however, allowed Nguyen to stretch his kitchen creativity. A “chef’s choice” selection will boast decadent dishes like pho made with grass-fed Texas Wagyu.
“My intent is to honor our heritage, but present authentic food in a modern way,” said Nguyen via the release.
That modernization extends to the restaurant’s interior. Since Ruby’s ramshackle bungalow was in too poor a condition to salvage, the pair drafted Austin-based Magic Architecture to help construct a contemporary environment. The exposed Douglas fir wood and heaps of natural light are a contrast to Pho Please’s stark industrial environment. White walls, steel community tables, and concrete floors complete the look.
"Guided by the owner’s interest in simple and clean spaces, the architecture was an exploration of how to make ordinary building parts look extraordinary,” explained Magic's firm principal Scott Magic.
Although the architecture is fresh, Nguyen and Do will not have to get acquainted with the neighborhood. The couple met while Do was studying at the nearby University of Texas campus, and Nguyen was still living in Vietnam. Once Do moved to the United States, he worked at local Vietnamese restaurants before the two opened Pho Please in 2016. According to the release, the couple views their journey as coming back full circle.
“We didn’t want to overly rely on the success of Pho Please — as amazing and humbling as it is," said Do. "What we really want people to understand is that we’re hard-working people out to push ourselves, take new risks – and hopefully elevate the experience our customers feel just a bit as well.”