Say it with us: “Fuh.”
Now that that’s out of the way, we’re excited to welcome our newest member to the Nashville Originals, Love Peace & Pho. The ‘70s-themed Vietnamese restaurant has brought authentic Vietnamese food to the Southeast and, more importantly, brought it outside of West Nashville. Now Nashvillians can conveniently get their fill of pho, banh mi, spring rolls and more right on 8th Avenue South.
But before we could slurp our beef noodle soup and savor our traditional Vietnamese iced coffee, the right location had to open up. Co-owner Mihn Nguyen sat on the idea of opening a restaurant for four years, waiting for the perfect spot to open up while traveling the country to meet other Vietnamese restaurateurs and swap recipes.
“I wanted to bring to Nashville what authentic Vietnamese food actually is, especially served on the west coast,” he says. “I also knew that one of the vital parts of a restaurant is location. I had a feeling this area would be a popular haunt for a restaurant, and the market in this neighborhood is a little more progressive, more willing to venture out.”
Then in October 2014, Love Peace & Pho opened shop on 8th Avenue South across from Zanies Comedy Night Club. With a ’70s theme—an ode to the decade Minh and his family were blessed with the opportunity to come to America from Vietnam after the war and settle in Tennessee—the small restaurant has made a big impact on Nashville’s culinary scene.
“The driver here is to maintain authenticity, so it’s been important to us to stay aligned with traditional proteins, greens, herbs and of course spices,” says Minh. “I wouldn’t dare bring sushi here, or lo mein or pad thai,” he added. “Our menu is strictly traditionally inspired Vietnamese food.”
The menu at Love Peace &
Pho features many Vietnamese staples, including fresh noodle dishes, bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), crepes, soups, and spring rolls filled with house-made sausage, Granny Smith apples or grilled pork strips.
Then there’s the pho. Making the traditional pho broth is a minimum two-day process—between making the stock, extracting the flavors and nutrients and creating the perfect broth, it’s the ultimate Vietnamese comfort food.
The pho at Love Peace & Pho is heavily influenced by southern Vietnam cooking traditions, making it a lighter, sweeter broth-based soup. Each bowl is also served with a heaping plate of fresh bean sprouts, basil, lime, jalapeno, green onion, and shallots.
The menu contains some surprises as well, like a refreshing lotus root salad or seasonal crawfish dishes done the Cajun way with a Vietnamese twist.
To wash down your meal, try any of the varieties of teas, coconut juice, salty lemonade or the crowd favorite, a traditional Vietnamese ice coffee made with sweetened condensed milk. To add, Love Peace & Pho will be continuously offering the best craft beer pairings to compliment it’s line of entrees.
Originals tip: nothing cuts the heat of a spicy noodle dish like a cold beer.
Minh credits a large part of the restaurant’s success to timing and to the community, which was willing to embrace a new style of eating.
“We’ve had an amazing customer base,” he says. “We have people who’ve traveled and come in with their own experiences, but they’re also looking forward to creating a new experience. What has been exciting are the transients that are here from cities like San Francisco, Houston and Seattle stating their approval of our pho! It lets me know we are on the right path.”
What’s been done in California, Washington DC, Texas, New York and Boston, Love Peace & Pho is doing in Nashville: raising the bar for authentic Vietnamese food. The menu is based on 100-year-old recipes and not the ignorance of the market or dishes on trend.
And that’s why we’re excited to have Minh and his restaurant join the Nashville Originals—to help us grow our support for local restaurants so they can continue to exercise individual creativity and shape our city’s unique culture.
“I look forward to being a part of a unique group of restaurants and seeing what I can do as a restaurateur and as a community steward to influence the local restaurant scene,” says Minh.
Love Peace & Pho, located at 2112 8th Avenue South, is open seven days a week, Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. In addition, they will be adding a full service bar in March that will extend hours. For more information, including menu details, visit www.lovepeaceandpho.com.