Restaurateur Spike Nguyen says he's almost never off the phone these days. He hasn't figured out a way to get it into the shower with him, but it may need to come to that.
Nguyen says he's on the phone so frequently because he had to create a new corporation in order to change his three-year-old Pho Hoa restaurant
at 1447 Independence Avenue — the first Kansas City franchise of the California-based Pho Hoa Noodle Soup chain — into a second location of his own iPho Tower concept.
Spike and Jessie Nguyen opened their first iPho Tower
in April in the historic building at 3623 Broadway (last occupied, briefly, by Clark's Caribbean American Restaurant), and the French-Vietnamese venue was such an immediate hit that they decided that they would turn Pho Hoa into a second iPho Tower.
The Independence Avenue location is set to open next week. The highly superstitious Jessie Nguyen is checking her calendar for the most favored date, numerically speaking. "There are certain numbers that are luckier than others," she says.
The former Pho Hoa dining room now looks very much like its sister bistro in midtown: blue walls with black and gold accents, new light fixtures, freshly renovated bathrooms. There are distinctive differences between the two restaurants, however. The Broadway iPho Tower has a full bar, and the Independence Avenue venue will continue to serve beer, wine and sake only. The iPho Tower on Broadway keeps the kitchen open late, often past 1 a.m. The iPho Tower on Independence Avenue will focus primarily on the lunch business, opening every day — seven days a week — at 9 a.m. and closing each night at 8 p.m.
"The menu of the Independence Avenue restaurant will be slightly different from the Broadway location," Spike Nguyen says. "It will also be slightly less expensive."