Bringing traditional Vietnamese cooking to Westfield
By Lauren Olsen
After 36 years running the breakfast and lunch spot Marlow’s Café, Bob and Annette Marlow closed the eatery in the heart of downtown Westfield in September. With the help of his nephew, Tony Nguyen, Leo Van opened Super Bowl Pho, a new specialty restaurant at 112 E. Main St.
This is Van’s first restaurant and is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. He is a chef and wanted a place where he could cook the food he grew up eating.
“I would never sell anything I don’t like,” he said.
As the name suggests, the restaurant specializes in Pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup. Pho is a beef noodle broth with a choice of meat, rice noodles, onion and cilantro served with a side of jalapeno, bean sprouts, basil, lime and sauces.
“We use an in-house stock and beef bone, simmering for 12 to 24 hours to make the base,” said Nguyen, who is also a chef and manager. “Our vegetables are cut every day, and we buy our vegetables every other day. A lot of the stuff is traditional, the stuff my parents would make at home.”
The recipes at Super Bowl Pho are based on the menu of Nguyen’s grandparents’ restaurant in Vietnam.
“We took their ideas and adjusted them based on the culture,” he said.
Super Bowl Pho opened its doors on Oct. 11. Nguyen said he paid homage to Marlow’s café by keeping breakfast on the menu and using recipes he learned from the previous owner.
“It was not as successful as we had hoped,” Nguyen said. “It wasn’t as busy and we took it (breakfast) off the menu.”
The restaurant is now working on updating its menu to offer a wider selection of traditional foods. One item Nguyen is excited to see on the menu is Bun Bo Hue, a beef and rice noodle dish that’s a specialty of Hue City in Vietnam.
“We have 73 menu items and we’re going to 103, adding 30 items and making the menu easier to access,” Nguyen said.
Other additions to the menu include more salad options and boba tea flavors. Also offered is a $4.95 lunch special served Monday through Saturday.
Super Bowl Pho
Where: 112 E. Main St., Westfield
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Offers: Takeout, casual attire, waiter service and televisions
Phone number: 399-7858