Seeing a dearth of Vietnamese food in DTLB, Thanh Ninh knew he had to open his first restaurant, 123 Phở, right here in our backyard.

Dubbing themselves the “Chipotle of Phở,” 123 Phở will open early Summer 2017 at 210 East 3rd Street and offer not only the eponymous Vietnamese soup, but also Banh Mi, Bao, garlic noodles, rice bowls, and… wait for it… boba. The pho and banh mi will be put together “assembly line” style, where customers choose their ingredients along the way.

“My vision is to make Vietnamese food less intimidating for the American mainstream,” says Ninh. “Bringing 123 Pho here is a no-brainer. I immediately saw the potential in Downtown Long Beach and felt the energy of the area.”

Phở is the national dish of Vietnam, and is perfectly normal to be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A point Ninh is well aware of – as he plans to cure everyone’s hangover in DTLB with a piping hot bowl of pho.

Originally with a background in corporate restaurant HR, Ninh made the leap and has spent the last year-plus studying the art of phở under his aunt’s tutelage (she owns three popular Vietnamese restaurants in OC). He has it down to a science now; so much so that 123 Phở will be offering a rarity in the world of phở as well: vegetarian broth.

With this build-your-own concept, those with dietary restrictions will have just as many options as those who don’t. The restaurant will also offer beer and wine and most meals will come in around $12. They hope to offer delivery and stay open late for those late-night munchies.