Vietnamese restaurant Pho Uy to bring variety to Main Street
By Liz Moomey
SALISBURY — Leslie Tran Stopper always wanted to open up her own restaurant.
She owns Salisbury Salon & Spa, but when Sweet Meadow Cafe moved from its Main Street location, Tran Stopper knew it was time to open up Pho Uy, a Vietnamese restaurant.
“Everything happens for a reason, so when they decided to leave to move to another area and I came over here, I fell in love with it,” Tran Stopper said.
Tran Stopper said she wanted to open up a restaurant for her late mother who taught her how to cook.
“My mother is an amazing cook,” Tran Stopper said. “We wanted to open her a restaurant when she was alive. I learned cooking from my mother. My mother always wanted a restaurant and I’m doing this for her.”
Tran Stopper’s son, Jonathan Tran, will help run the restaurant and in four years, he will be the owner.
“I’m opening this restaurant for my son, Jonathan,” Tran Stopper said. “He’s 21. When he’s 25, I will sign this over to him. This is his. I’m helping him out.”
Tran, a Catawba college senior, wants Pho Uy to be a place to get people excited about coming to downtown Salisbury.
“We’re trying to build a better community for downtown,” Tran said. “There’s not a lot of life here at night. We want more businesses here so people can come here and visit and be like ‘Wow, this place is great.’”
Tran Stopper said she wants customers to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy a good Vietnamese meal.
“I want something that people can come in and feel comfortable,” Tran Stopper said. “They can bring the kids in here, college kids, high school kids can come in and do their homework. Adults when they want to get away they can come in here and read the newspaper and feel they’re still in the living room. But they can still have a drink.”
After a conversation with her son, Tran Stopper said she decided she wanted the restaurant to have later hours. It will close at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and close at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
“We want college kids to have a place to eat and be safe, she said. “We want this to be fun and attract different people. An adult can come in and sit and watch TV and read a newspaper and think they’re still at home. Or when the kids that go to college and they’re stressed, they can come here and drink a tapioca drink or eat an appetizer and enjoy and mingle with their friends.”
Pho Uy will have a patio space, a lounge and a bar where customers can enjoy pho, which is a Vietnamese soup; a Vietnamese sandwich or a tapioca drink — a bubble tea. Tran Stopper said she wants to bring a taste of her hometown of California to Salisbury.
“We want to bring more of where we’re coming from,” she said. “They eat outside. That’s what I want. That’s my goal that we can eat outside and have a planter box that’s more tropical and more nightlife, so people have a place to go.”
Pho Uy had to delay its grand opening, but Tran Stopper said they are hopeful for a late September opening and are excited about the buzz around Pho Uy.
“They want a variety of food,” Tran Stopper said. “They want diverse food. When they heard I’m opening this place, everybody is excited. Everybody is waiting for us to open, but unfortunately I have to disappoint them a couple times.”
Tran said he thinks opening up a Vietnamese restaurant will attract other diverse businesses.
“There’s a lot of potential for downtown,” Tran said. “There’s a lot of empty buildings. We could bring more businesses here and it’s more diversity. There’s an Indian restaurant that’s thinking about moving down here too and another Thai restaurant that had this place in mind. It’s more diverse.”
Pho Uy is at 111 N. Main Street. For more information about the restaurant, call 704-310-6938 or email PhoUySalisburyNC@gmail.com.