About Us

​A Miami-Dade resident, Huey hails from a family of restaurateurs, including those behind the Miss Saigon Bistro establishments, with locations in Pinecrest, Coral Cables, and South Beach. One of 11 children, the newbie restaurateur says he opened What the Pho as a tribute to his 89-year-old mother, Gai Nguyen; born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City — a metropolis in southeast Vietnam — she taught Huey to cook many of her homeland's most basic dishes while working as head chef at Miss Saigon Bistro's Pinecrest location, where she continues to cook today.
But the road to the Miss Saigon kitchen was a long one for Gai. When the family first moved to the United States, Huey recalls, his parents both worked several jobs to keep the household afloat. One of his mother's first jobs was at the local Chinese restaurant, washing dishes for $10 a day. Later, when two of Huey's sisters began helping her after school, the owner gave Gai just $2 more per day — one for each girl.
"After many years in the business, my mom's skill and talent got her better jobs, and she started cooking," recalls Huey. "And when my sisters opened the first Miss Saigon in Coral Gables more than 18 years ago, she was the chef."
Today, What the Pho is chef-owner Huey's first private venture outside his siblings' establishments. Until now, he preferred to play the affable host, his outgoing demeanor earning him the title of "the show." When his sisters needed to drum up business, he'd be there to help usher in the crowds and keep the patronage happy.
"As for my own place, it was always a dream, but I wasn't planning to do this here — or now," says Huey, whose friend suggested he take a look at the vacant space at 2033 Wilton Drive, formerly occupied by Gregarious Drinkery. "But I fell in love with the city and the people. It was meant to be."
As you might suspect, many of Gai's recipes can now be found at What the Pho, everything from handmade spring rolls and peanut plum sauce to giant, steaming bowls of pho, hu tieuvamien, orcanhchua.
But there is one section of the What the Pho menu that features Huey's own creation, filed under lunch specials. It's called the Huey Special, a bowl-style meal he concocted years ago at Miss Saigon's Miami locations. The dish has become so popular, each restaurant now goes through hundreds of orders a day for both lunch and dinner.