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Pho Bac’s Rainier Valley Location Is Coming Back

Plus, a public memorial service for bartender Murray Stenson, and more news of the week

The interior of a fairly unadorned restaurant
The inside of the Pho Bac in Rainier Valley
Pho Bac
Harry Cheadle is the editor of Eater Seattle.

If your New Year’s resolution was to eat more pho, congrats on making that rare resolution that sounds both worthwhile and achievable. Also, you should know that the Rainier Valley branch of the pho-tastic Pho Bac restaurant group is reopening sometime next week.

The original Pho Bac, in the neighborhood now known as Little Saigon, was opened by the Pham family in 1982 (it was Seattle’s first restaurant to serve the Vietnamese noodle soup). Today that location is the Boat, a brunchy spot serving the Vietnamese version of fried chicken and waffles; across the parking lot is Pho Bac Sup Shop, a seemingly always-packed restaurant that’s made short rib pho famous on Instagram. Yenvy and Quynh-Vy Pham, the sisters who run Pho Bac, have recently expanded into coffee with Hello Em and cocktails with Phocific Standard Time, and last year were nominated for a James Beard Award.

The Rainier Valley Pho Bac, though, was a bit more like the old Pho Bac. There weren’t any online orders, it was cash-only, and the menu was as simple as the decor — or at least it was before the place had to close for renovations last August. But on Sunday, the Phams teased the reopening on Instagram. with their characteristic casualness. “Same vibes, same OG ladies,” the post read. “Opening sometime next week. Maybe. Just look for the OPEN sign.”

In messages with Eater Seattle, the owners said the opening would happen “sometime next week. Just some finishing touches to prep!” As for the setup, they’ll be “caving in and taking cards,” and turning on online orders at some point as well. But the menu will stay simple: “Pho and only pho,” the owners said. “Keeping it simple.”

Pinoyshki is opening on Capitol Hill

Don’t call it “fusion cuisine,” call it the dumpling singularity. Pinoyoshki, a new bakery and restaurant specializing in mashups of Filipino empanadas and Russian piroshki, is opening soon on Capitol Hill. Local website Capitol Hill Seattle Blog has the details — Pinoyoshki will occupy a section of the Pine side of the massive Pike Motorworks development between Harvard and Boylston avenues. The bakery, owned by Aly Anderson, was formerly known as Piroshki on Third (no relation to Piroshky Piroshky) and got featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives under that name, but has swapped monikers to reflect its new focus and location. (The original Piroshki on Third closed late last year.)

Vito’s revival dies after a second fire hits building

The future of First Hill classic Vito’s Restaurant and Lounge was already uncertain after a 2022 fire in the building forced it to close. But after another fire on New Year’s Day, owners owners Greg Lundgren and Jeff Scott decided not to bring it back — they consider the second fire “our Viking funeral,” they wrote on Instagram last week. Opened in 1953, Vito’s was a Seattle institution for decades (and a rumored Mafia hang), but it closed after multiple ownership changes and a 2008 shooting on the dance floor. The current owners revived it in 2010, but now it’s gone for good.

Murray Stenson gets a public memorial

After Murray Stenson, Seattle’s most famous bartender, died last year, the service industry was in a state of collective mourning. On January 29 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle Center, everyone from fans to industry pros will be able to gather and grieve together. “Organized by a group of Stenson’s friends and colleagues, the memorial service is designed to celebrate Stenson’s life and his lasting impact on the local community and cocktail culture,” reads a press release. Guests will listen to some LPs from Stenson’s extensive jazz collection as well as live performances, watch a 15-minute memorial video, and drink some of his signature cocktails. Tickets, which are $20, can be found here — go to “buy tickets” and enter the promo code MurrayStenson.