It’s been awhile.
And, apparently, it was a while between visits to Phuc Loi, the Vietnamese micro-restaurant on Gravois, west of Grand. On one visit, the entire Nguyen family was in place, behind the counter, bussing tables, running the ovens in the kitchen. A month later… bang! Same location, same name, but an entirely new staff, a mostly new menu and a completely different feel.
The new staff featured a familiar face to me. After a time, it was determined that she was the cousin of one of my former soccer players. Asked where the Nguyen family had gone, she told me that she didn’t know, they sold the restaurant and that was that. It was obvious, though, that the young lady knew more than she was letting on. And trying to get the information from the cousin proved totally useless, so this mystery remains. And it’s bothersome.
Straight-up, I loved the old Phuc Loi. The food, the environment, the eventual melting of customer/worker relationships. Never had a bad meal there, even when the orders that came out were slightly different than the ones placed.
In the past few weeks, I’ve popped through a few Vietnamese restaurants on the South Side, ones that I hadn’t been into, yet. My hope is that one of these visits is going to yield a positive ID. The Nguyen’s will be there as new owners, the food’ll be great, the atmosphere welcoming. But it’s also possible, I suppose, that the parents are back home, the kids scattered to their various side jobs all over town. And then, that’d be that.
I’m holding out hope, though. You’ve seen the folks? Tell me that you’ve seen these folks: