Capitol Hill food+drink | Pho Cyclo’s summer plans, Rancho Bravo’s next move, Street Food Fest

IMG_6068Taylor Hoang has a new menu for the new Seattle summer.

“On days when it’s 90 degrees out, people might want something different,” she says of her push this summer to make sure more people are aware of the expanded offerings at Pho Cyclo.

The Pho Cyclo founder has also been in the food and drink business on Broadway for more than nine years and she has a few new thoughts about the changing street.

“I think it’s changed for the better,” Hoang said. “When we first moved in there weren’t a lot of upscale restaurants or even nice places to hang out.”

This summer, Hoang is hoping Pho Cyclo customers will try the grilled salmon ($10.95), black sesame spicy noodle salad ($6.75) or the spicy mint and lemongrass chicken Banh Mi ($4.75).

“We still get a lot of people in for pho,” she said. “It’s that one dish that works well for everything.”

Hoang has grown Cyclo to four locations today from her start in SoDo ten years. While her parents have been in the restaurant business for decades at Huong Bienh in the ID, Hoang has taken a more business-savvy approach to her venture.

“Seeing how hard they worked in restaurant business — seven days a week,” Hoang said, “I didn’t want that for myself. So we put in time and effort to develop procedures.”

Even with her eye on efficiency, Hoang said she has also learned a thing or two from the old school approach of her parents. “Keeping it old school has its own benefits — I learned through my mother,” she said. “Employees stay because they’re treated like family. Without them they wouldn’t be able to do this.”

(Image: Pho Cyclo)

(Image: Pho Cyclo)

On Broadway, Hoang says success has also been about the quirks.

“Broadway is a whole different animal in itself,” she said. “Our other cafes are located in professional business areas. We get people grabbing business lunch out within 30 mins. Broadway is more of a lingering dining experience. A little less during the day and huge crowds at night.”

The street is also changing. “In the beginning, there were a lot of transients and we got alarm calls all the time,” Hoang said. “The attitude about Broadway has changed — but now I see a much much bigger change. There’s a lot more the city and the community can do to get Broadway to be a destination.”

You can learn more at phocyclocafe.com.

Capitol Hill food+drink notes 

  • With Freddy Junior’s open on Broadway and entered into the Capitol Hill burger war with its stealthy slider arsenal, owner Freddy Rivas is busy working on his Rancho Bravo business. Like Taylor Hoang at Pho Cyclo, Rivas has recognized that he’ll need to be more systematic about how Rancho Bravo operates if he wants to take the next step and expand to new locations and possibly franchise the Bravos with his employees. “I’m working on getting things internally organized so when we expand it won’t be chaos,” Rivas tells us. Also on the horizon is a plan for what happens when the land where Rancho Bravo Capitol Hill stands now is redeveloped. Expect to hear more about the project mentioned here in coming months. Rivas said he’s working out a deal to return to the development but the interim plan is up in the air. In the meantime, Rivas is planning a remodel of the original 45th Ave Bravo location. And, oh yeah, he’s also thinking about opening a dive bar somewhere on the Hill.
  • The Seattle Street Food Festival comes to Capitol Hill for the first time this weekend. You can still buy priority line tickets or tickets to the cool but maybe too-much-of-a-good-thing One Night Only Project dinner in Cal Anderson here. We last wrote about the festival here. Going?

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Resurrection, originally uploaded by sea turtle.

“Our food is not necessarily authentic,” Wiley says. “We use Dungeness crab in some of our dishes because that’s what’s best in Seattle. You won’t see Dungeness crab in Thailand. I’m not Thai, but I make much of the food—is that authentic? Yes, we milk our own coconuts in traditional Thai fashion for our khao soi, but the coconuts are from the Dominican Republic. We just make food we like.”

  • Spinasse’s Jason Stratton tells the Daily Journal of Commerce that rent for his new project Aragona was cheaper downtown than on Capitol Hill:

    The chef likens his move downtown to when he first opened Spinasse five years ago at 14th Avenue and East Pine Street, which was not the most popular part of Capitol Hill at the time.

    “I like the idea of being a little bit of a pioneer,” he said.

  •  The Starbucks at Pike and Broadway is almost ready to open:

    (Image: @gordonwerner)

    (Image: @gordonwerner)

This week’s CHS food+drink advertiser directory

5 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Pho Cyclo’s summer plans, Rancho Bravo’s next move, Street Food Fest

  1. Hey Justin, thanks as always for the great updates about life on the Hill. One favor: would it be possible for you to insert street addresses or nearby intersections into your write ups about local businesses or happenings? Since moving to Capitol Hill a year ago and starting to read your news site, that’s been my only complaint: you have a tendency to refer to buildings and other locations by name (e.g., the Oddfellows Building) rather than address. I would love to see that information in the articles, without having to do a Google search to find out where a place is located. Especially since I’m still a relative newcomer.

    A tiny, ticky-tacky concern: I’m lazy and your site is great. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for the nice note and friendly suggestion. We have been struggling to find a solid performing map solution to again integrate in the posts but regardless I should shift our habits back toward weaving locations into the text. On one hand, it’s another element to screw up! On the other, it’s useful!

      • Thanks, Justin, I appreciate the reply. And agreed: if there’s a typo in the address, I’m sure you’ll catch heat from somebody!

  2. Pingback: Capitol Hill businesses join forces big and small in minimum wage debate | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle