Despite the pandemic that has kept Minnesota restaurants closed for on-premise dining for over 2 months, a new quick-serve Vietnamese restaurant will open Thursday in a former Tim Horton’s in Dinkytown. Pho Mai will launch as a takeout-only operation, with a planned opening of its dining room on June 1. (319 14th Av. SE., Mpls., phomaimn.com).
The restaurant replaces the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain, instead offering bánh mì, egg rolls, rice platters and six kinds of pho.
This is the second restaurant for the owners of MT Noodles in Brooklyn Park (8459 W. Broadway Av., Brooklyn Park, 763-315-3055, mtnoodles.com).
Co-owner Michael Bui, who emigrated to Minnesota from Vietnam in 1980, said the new spot will feel like “Noodles & Company but authentic.”
He was prepared to open Pho Mai in March, when state-ordered dining closure put his plans on hold.
“We’ve been sitting here paying for rent and doing nothing,” Bui said. About two weeks ago, he decided to open up for takeout for the foreseeable future. Then came the June 1 targeted opening date for Minnesota restaurants. Bui says he is ready, whether or not that date holds.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business for a long time,” he said. “You try to plan for everything, but we never planned for this.”
The restaurant will begin serving takeout and delivery Thursday, 11 a.m.