I Shouldn’t Tell You This

Monday Musings by Melinda M.

I shouldn’t tell you about my favorite Hilo restaurant. I shouldn’t tell you because it’s already hard enough to get one of the 32 seats available for lunch or dinner. I shouldn’t tell you because they close early if they run out of their menu. But I’ll tell you because it is our go-to date night restaurant and the perfect remedy for the cold, wet nights we’ve been having.


Pho Viet is this family run restaurant on a little, poorly lit back street in downtown Hilo. They pretty much only sell pho and the pho they sell is pho-nominal (couldn’t help myself!)! It is so good that they are pretty much packed every time we go. It is so good that they stopped selling their food “to go” because they couldn’t keep up with the volume.


When I asked the owner why they didn’t expand, find a bigger location, hire more staff, she said it was difficult to find good help and to prep all the food for take out. I’m sure that’s true – when it’s essentially your family’s kitchen, quality and pride are your brand and if you have to compromise them to sell more meals, then selling more meals is not an option. I always think of the parable about the Mexican fisherman and the American banker when I think about how they’ve responded to their popularity and how I initially responded to their response!


But if you’re going to go to Pho Viet, be warned: every so often, there’s a hand-written sign up saying they closed for the day or they’ve run out of food. But if they’re open and if they still have what you wanted, you will experience a well-known secret, cooked lovingly by a family that loves what they do!



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