Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Opening Soon Downtown

Pho Vi, a new Vietnamese restaurant, will be opening soon at the corner of 3rd and Thomas. It's a central corner location, and they advertise outdoor seating.

For those who have never had Vietnamese cuisine, it is very healthy, fresh and flavorful. Like Mexican food, cilantro is a trademark seasoning of Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese beef noodle soup is called Pho (pronounced fuh), and has developed a cult-like following.

One of the cult members is my husband, who used to be a regular at another Pomona Vietnamese restaurant, which shall remain nameless. He rarely goes there anymore, since the wait staff developed a habit of asking him what sports teams to bet on. Seems my husband made the mistake of reading the sports section of the L.A. Times over his countless lunches there. Far as I can tell, my husband's tips were helpful, based on the reverential treatment we received when Mr. Big and I joined him for lunch. But my husband got a little nervous, wondering what might happen if his advice lost someone lots of money. My husband started to go there less, and eventually the wait staff changed, only to be replaced by new people who often served a different pho than my husband had actually ordered. Hence our excitement about Pho Vi coming to town.

I thought this was the old bank building where Eldridge Cleaver spent his last year of life, but thanks to Richard who sent me these photos (no, he did not take them!) it turns out the Pho Vi space used to be a theater.

btw, David Allen already wrote about Pho Vi in passing, of course he did it in the Pasadena local paper, rather than the "Inland Valley," so I only just saw this.

In that article, David lists his dream businesses for Pomona. What are other people's wishes for downtown businesses?



Anonymous said...

This from David Allen (who said the system wouldn't let him post:

Eldridge Cleaver spent the last few months of his life in a
loft in the Progress-Bulletin building on the southeast corner of
that intersection.

Ms. Lois said...

Hey, G of P

I like your new look. You're getting pretty snazzy for us common folk. :)

A big hey to Mr. Big!

me said...

Thanks, Miss Lois. AFter almost 2 years of the other header, I was ready for a change.

My dream businesses for downtown:

1. A Yoga Studio - I even know of one that, last I heard, was looking for a new home. (They're currently located in a business park in Upland, and get NO foot traffic.)

2. A co-op BAkery - I've heard that "Pomona BAkery" is coming to town, or is already here, or was here. This is actually going to be a post. The Arizmendo Bakery chain out of Oakland does quite well and is an interesting business model.

3. Children's museum (like the Chino Youth Museum) or a kid space. This would bring families into downtown for other businesses.

4. Lee's SAndwiches - a healthy fast food vietnamese sandwich chain. If they really must do the fast food thing, this is the way to go. Nearest one is in Rosemead.

5. Comic bookstore - Longtime Pomona comic bookstore, Funny Business, just had to move to a puny space on N. Garey. Too bad they're not downtown.

To name a few.

G of P

REN said...

i would have to go with a bakery love the smell of bread comming out of the oven.and if you can pick a loaf up still warm and tear into it and with some wip butter oh yea, set me free

pomonamom said...

Love the yoga studio, bakery and kidspace ideas.

We also need a good family friendly eatery -- a diner would be great (why is it business owners seem to keep thinking we need more fine dining in downtown pomona??) -- someplace we could walk for sunday brunch.

I'd also love to see a low-key veggie place. We tried this place recently (seems to be the start of a new chain -- they have two branches) and loved it: tempeh burgers, sweet potato fries and sides of kale -- yum!

me said...

I'm with you on the fancy restaurants down there. There's no middle ground. I'm hoping Pho Vi is not too fancy, most Vietnamese places are not.

Yes, family dining. Veggie Grill is the type of place that I too think would do well, drawing from the artists down there, the significant greens about, the young people at the college, lunch professionals and Pomona families. There's no middle ground down there now, with it either being upscale or fastfood sandwiches to choose from.

G of P

Sherlock said...

Are you sure the David Allen article didn't appear in the Daily Bulletin? I remember reading it and I don't venture to the Pasadena facsimile very often. Maybe it popped up in the SGVT?

I hope David get extra money when his articles appear in more than one paper?

me said...

You are correct, Sherlock. Like I just wrote DAvid, I make a point of reading his columns in the DB, yet I still sometime manage to miss them. Proof that online just isn't the same as paper.

I left the post AS IS even once DAvid corrected me, just to see if anyone else caught it.

G of P

Pride in Garfield Park said...

These are all great ideas! Other dreams (in no particular order):

1. A movie theater (an art house would be dreamy...what are the plans for the Fox renovation?)

2. A park with lots of benches, playground equipment, etc. -- perhaps we can sink one in the current destruction zone.

3. A board game/toy store (something like Gameology on Foothill just east of Towne, but more cool toys).

4. A cocktail lounge that serves a killer martini.

5. A gym -- the YMCA is OK(ish), but it leaves a lot to be desired.

6. A massage parlor. Just kidding.

me said...

Now I wouldn't mind a massage parlor that doubles as a bakery. If the bread was good and baked fresh every day. Perhaps I should recommend that to my accupncturist/massage guy at the corner here.

G of P

John Clifford said...


The plans for the Fox are as a multi-use venue. They are contracted to do a lot of concerts, but they are also planning a lot of other events as well. Part of their agreements with the city is to provide "community use" which will include a lot of different types of uses.

On the movie front, the Pomona Fox Corporation (the non-profit that I'm VP of)is working on several film programs for the Fox's first year. We're working with groups such as the American Cinematheque and trying to program some film programs of special interest (more revival cinema than art, but then it took Claremont 20 years to get the Laemelle theater).

However, Gene Harvey, who had the cinemas at Indian Hill is also looking for a place to build a first-run movie house in Pomona. It's always amazed me that a city with a population larger than Pasadena has NO movie house at all.

Hopefully change is in the air.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

Thanks for the info, John. I have no idea if the organizers of the Smogdance Film Festival would be interested in considering alternate venues for their annual event. That said, it would be fun to see the films in the Fox :)

me said...

Smogdance just announced they will BE at the Fox next year. It's actually a Pomona organized event that has been away from home all this time.

G of P

John Clifford said...

Charlotte Cousins, the director of SmogDance is on the non-profit Pomona Fox board and is the chair of the programming committee to come up with programming ideas to be submitted to the theater's operators. I know that she has some great ideas to present as soon as dates start to firm up.

Yes, the developers have finally closed escrow on the Fox after some difficulties caused by the current economic situation. But things are now moving full-steam ahead for an opening prior to SmogDance and with SmogDance definitely scheduled to be there.

As more info becomes available, I'll be happy to share it.

Garrett Sawyer said...

Pride in Garfield park- Theres already a park downtown, Memorial Park, it's towards the end of the Art's Colony on west Second & parcel. It's small though. Plus, the city considers the Civic Center area as a park...lol. Then theres the Centinnial Park on the Antiques Row side on east Second and Gibbs. Also small, smaller than Memorial.

Garrett Sawyer said...

Pomonamom- Have you ever been to the Mission Family restaurant? It's on Mission and White if you haven't. Thats kind of close to Downtown (still within walking distance), not fancy at all...not sure if thats the kind of food you're looking for but it's definately for families.

I don't know what my dream business downtown would be but it would most likely be owned by myself. lol. It would also have to be ecofriendly. Thats all I know.

Pride in Garfield Park said...

Memorial Park doesn't do it for me. I'd love to see a park/green space that serves as a hub for the community and commerce buzzing around the edges.

REN said...

Memorial Park is also known as old Mans Park at one time they had horse shoe pits and shuffle board.

calwatch said...

Mission Family is an old school diner that has been around for decades. It has that classic Auto Age architecture with the big windows, a lower key version of Johnnie's on La Cienega and Wilshire. The problem is that it has been showing its age for some time, which doesn't help.

Garrett Sawyer said...

Calwatch- I don't think it looks that bad actually. Within the last 5 years or so they've kind of made it look a little nicer inside. Some parts are still bad, like the bathrooms. At least there aren't a bunch of older folks smoking all over inside anymore, hence the cigarette vending machine vanishing. lol. I heard they used it in a movie recently (in 06?), I remember my mom told me that...she was driving to the hospital to work one day and she saw a movie crew there. Apparently it's desirable enough for a movie, but that doesn't say much, I have no idea in what context it was used or in what movie though. I'm just going by her word, she could be wrong...lol.