Pho Grand Joins Market Line Retail Mix

Photo from the Market Line's Instagram.

Photo from the Market Line’s Instagram.

A little more local flavor for the Market Line, the big retail pavilion that’s part of the Essex Crossing project.

Via Instagram yesterday, we learned that longtime Lower East Side/Chinatown favorite Pho Grand is joining the subterranean retail bazaar. After years in operation at 277 Grand St., owners Benny and Mick Chen have decided to open a second location of their Vietnamese restaurant in the Market Line.

Back in 2011, JP Bowersock checked out Pho Grand for The Lo-Down, calling the “Chinese-Viet diner” a  “charming and inexpensive” LES mainstay.

Previously announced local Market Line vendors include the Pickle Guys, the Doughnut Plant, Nom Wah Tea Parlor and Essex Pearl (a new project from Aqua Best seafood market in Chinatown). The first segment of the shopping complex will open later this year at 115 Delancey St.

Health Department Shutters Pho Grand, Shalom Chai Looks to Reopen

Pho Grand, 277 Grand St. Photo by Robert K. Chin.

Pho Grand, 277 Grand St. Photo by Robert K. Chin.

Bad news for fans of Pho Grand, the Vietnamese restaurant at 277 Grand St.  The Health Department closed the business last Thursday after an inspection racked up 60 violation points. The report posted online indicates the presence of live roaches in food handling areas, hot and cold foods kept at the wrong temperature and food not kept from sources of contamination.  Pho Grand recorded only 10 violation points in its most recent inspection and has had good scores in the last couple of years.

Pho Grand: “Authenticity” isn’t Everything

Photo by Cynthia Lamb.

Buzzwords are funny things, especially when it comes to restaurants. Some places comically tout “authenticity,” others present an expensive mishmash of ingredients as “fusion“, while still others bandy about words like “original,” “modern” or “seasonal”. “Tapas” has come to mean miniscule portions paired with overpriced drinks, regardless of whether the food bears any resemblance to something one might find in Spain.

How did that happen? I stay away from places that associate themselves with buzzwords, as I’m convinced they mean I’ll be paying a premium for the privilege of taking part in somebody’s concept. I have nothing against concept dining, I‘m simply not interested in paying extra for it. My favorite places are more pedestrian: hole-in-the-wall joints where I can get a great meal without an obligatory side of pretense. I go out to eat, not to affirm my social status.

This kind of thinking brings me back to places like Pho Grand (277c Grand Street, between Eldridge and Forsyth) again and again.

Grand Street Businesses Struggle to Bounce Back from Fire

Lin Shu Ming, owner of Pho Grand, is happy to be back in business. Closed for almost three weeks after the devastating Chinatown fire, he lost $2000-$3000 each day and had to throw out $10,000 in spoiled food. But at least he’s open. Late last week, the city finally removed the barricades keeping people from accessing businesses on Grand, between Eldridge and Forsyth.

Pho Grand

Pho comes in six varieties — there’s an extensive menu featuring other Vietnamese specialties including summer rolls, fried crabs marinated in salt and pepper and whole fish.

277 Grand, near Forsyth


Open daily 10am-10pm


What to eat at Pho Grand? See JP Bowersock’s column, “Authenticity Isn’t Everything.”