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Our Story

Our Story

When it comes to Pho and Crab, our approach is set on traditional Vietnamese food. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of Vietnamese Pho, Vermicelli, and rice dishes for lunch. We also provide fresh FREE spring rolls with the most heavenly peanut sauce during lunch hours. You will thoroughly enjoy your experience here. Our restaurant is based on years of experience with our own innovative creations and understanding of our customers. You will have an enjoyable, satisfying experience. We provide 6 types of Crab dishes, Pho dishes, Vermicelli dishes, Beers and Wines, and Happy Hour Specials.

About Chef Nghiem Thi Nguyen (AKA Ba Ky)

From a humble upbringing in a farm village in Vietnam, Ba Ky (Madame Ky) began her first restaurant business in 1969 opening Thanh Xuan Restaurant in Saigon. With the fall of Saigon she lost everything and fled to the US with her husband and young family, settling in Houston in 1978 to restart her restaurant enterprise. Over the last 35 years there she has opened and operated several successful Vietnamese restaurants and, in the process, created hundreds of restaurant staff jobs - all with speaking little to no English.
Houston was one of several major US cities that attracted Vietnamese immigrants due to its climate and immediate proximity to the Gulf, providing jobs in the wholesale seafood sales business. At the time Houston had no Pho restaurants, so Madame Ky opened the first one named Pho Tau Bay primarily to serve the new Vietnamese community longing for the authentic dishes they missed. Working from just 800 square feet the restaurant generated $80,000/month, or a phenomenal $1,200/ square foot in sales.
In 1982, Madame Ky relocated to a larger restaurant in Hoa Binh Center in Midtown near downtown Houston
(since redeveloped as the Camden Travis St. Apts). By 1990, she decided to move Pho Tau Bay to Chinatown in the Bellaire Boulevard corridor, an area where both the Vietnamese population and (subsequently the demand for Vietnamese) businesses was growing. Her passion for opening restaurants continued into the '90s with a new Pho Tau Bay in 1997.
By this time Madame Ky's restaurants had gained a reputation for serving the highest quality traditional Vietnamese dishes together with updated dishes having a modern interpretation of Vietnamese cuisine, and a career- long standard she stead fastly maintains and instills in her chefs today along with providing the utmost in customer service.
In 2000, she opened a new concept to appeal to the Houston mainstream community. Named Vuetioua
(www.vietopiawu. com), it is a 6,000 square foot full-service sit-down restaurant located on Buffalo Speedway in the affluent West University/Rice Village community, in the Southwest Freeway (Rt.50) corridor. Due to its location, Vietopia enjoys a huge following of weekday, evening, and weekend diners. Separate Lunch and Dinner Menus are offered and, additionally, the restaurant includes a bar and separate private room for events. Vietopia continues to thrive today under the leadership of Madame Ky's son.
Subsequently, Madame Ky opened the BaKy Restaurant in 2002 and the Pho Ngon restaurant in 2005 now managed by her son Hoi Lu. See the Timeline below for the complete list of her restaurants.
Madame Ky took a few years off to recover and reflect following her husband's death in 2009. It was a solemn time but also a time for Madame Ky to rekindle her creative energies to develop new dish and sauce offerings, including a heavenly peanut sauce, a variety of spring rolls, a lemongrass curried goat dish, among other delicious dishes.
Building on the successful Vietopia concept, she plans to open her firet Washington, DC area restaurant offering her culinary talents and high-quality Vietnamese dishes appealing not only to American and Vietnamese diners, but to attract the DC international community as it is known. She has visited the market area, surveyed and dined at competing restaurants looking for locations meeting her site criteria for location, demographics, access, and visibility that, when combined with her proven 35-year record as a restaurant owner / operator, will ensure the new restaurant's success.

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