Pho and Other Vietnamese Fare May Be Coming to Town

The owner of a Humphrey Street property will go before the zoning bord Wednesday to seek permits for a Vietnamese Restaurant.


Kevin Nguyen will seek a special-use permit for inside and outside seating as well as parking relief and other items when he appears before the zoning board on Wednesday.

The restaurant owner wants to bring Vietnamese cuisine to 286 Humphrey Street in the space now occupied by Beatrice Insurance.

If all goes, well, he told Patch earlier this year, he will open his Vietnamese Cuisine and Sushi Bar in January.

Nguyen appeared before selectmen earlier this year seeking approval to serve beer, wine and liquor.

Board members said they welcome a new business on Humphrey but opted to wait until the restaurant got its approvals from the Zoning Board of Appeals before they took up his spirits request.

The ZBA agenda says Nguyen and Tho Thi Lam-Nguyen are seeking a special use permit for inside seating for 61 and outside seating for 20.

They are also seeking a special permit for off-street parking relief, exterior signage relief and use of the existing pole sign.

The hearing is scheduled for 7:45 pm at the senior center. Wednesday's meeting has a busy agenda with an earlier item likely to generate a lot of discussion.

Nguyen and his wife are a busy couple.

Nguyen works at a BMW dealership in Peabody and he and his brother run Maki, a restaurant in downtown Peabody.

His wife runs a salon.

The Swampscott restaurant plans to serve a variety of traditional fare including a Vietnamese specialty called pho, a soup with rice noodles, chicken or beef, vegetables, bean sprouts, lime, Thai basil and other ingredients.

Nguyen’s will feature food with traditional Vietnamese ingredients like lemongrass, Vietnamese mint, Thai basil, fish sauce, mint and ginger, as well as the pho.  Fish, chicken, beef and pork are staples in the Vietnamese diet, and many varieties of seafood.

Also, many Vietnamese dishes focus on the vegetarian tradition established by Buddhists.

The Nguyen family bought the property on Humphrey Street from Beatrice Insurance, who will be moving to a new location in town.

Nguyen was born and raised in Vietnam and came to America in 1987, settling in California, where he met his wife Theresa in high school.

“We lived on a boat on the river after the war ended, then we moved to Thailand before coming to America,” Nguyen said. “My sister lived in this area and we loved it, the town of Swampscott, the location next to the water, it’s beautiful.”


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