Vietnamese Pho and Banh Mi Shop ‘Phubs’ Opens at Cross Street Market

| June 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

Federal Hill now has its first Vietnamese restaurant as Phubs opened last week in a stall at the newly-renovated Cross Street Market. Phubs was started in Hanover, Maryland by brothers Chuong and Paul Nguyen five years ago.

Phubs focuses on Vietnamese street food favorites pho and banh mi. It also serves rice bowls, salads, sides, and specialty drinks. Chuong Nguyen said recipes come from his family’s take on pho from Northern Vietnam. He noted that Northern Vietnamese pho has more spice and Southern Vietnamese pho tends to be a bit sweeter.

Phubs’ pho beef broth is simmered with bones and additional Vietnamese spices for more than 24 hours. Chuong Nguyen said this process allows the broth to get all the nutrients out of the bones. He said they get a lot of feedback that people feel a lot better after slurping down the broth. Not only can customers get the broth as pho, they can get a cup of broth to drink like coffee.

Phubs also has a veggie broth that is simmered with eight fresh vegetables and 10 Vietnamese spices. Chuong Nguyen said he and Paul Nguyen spent a lot of time developing their own recipe for the veggie broth. They wanted to avoid using any powders.

Pho orders include steak which has a mix of rare steak and house-smoked brisket; The Phubolicious which has sliced steak, brisket, meatball, spinach, and napa cabbage; sliced chicken breast pho with beef broth; vegetarian with napa cabbage, spinach, celery, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and tofu with veggie broth; and shrimp pho with spinach, shiitake mushrooms, and beef broth.

Phubs has five different food options that can be ordered as a bahn mi sub on a buttered french baguette and topped with house pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, and cucumbers; on top of rice; or on top of a salad. The options are citrus sesame chicken, BBQ pork, bulgogi sliced steak, sautéed portobello mushrooms, and phun yum shrimp.  All the meats are grilled and all the marinades are made in-house.

Side orders are fried shrimp and pork spring rolls and veggie chips which are made from tapioca and topped with vegetable spices.

The house-brewed specialty drinks are a bubble Thai tea with half and half, bubble coconut tea with coconut milk, and the french-pressed Viet iced coffee.

The Phubs stall has a pho-themed graffiti mural done by artist John McGrath and metal accents. The top header has a Phubs sign and will soon have a chain link fence background. The Nguyens are going with the street theme to go with its street food concept. The stall is located next to a Cross Street Market common seating area.

Phubs will soon add online ordering and will add GrubHub delivery in the near future.

Phubs has five employees but is looking to add to its staff. It is open Monday to Thursday from 11am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 10pm, and Sunday from 11am to 6pm.

Federal Hill will be the third location for Phubs, following the recently-opened location in Wilmington, Delaware. “Federal Hill has been a place we have visited since we were kids,” said Chuong Nguyen. “It’s a cool place. The Cross Street Market is a place we always hung out and pregamed at before O’s and Ravens games. It definitely needed some revitalization. When we heard that was going on, they (the leasing team at CANAdev) reached out to see if we were interested. We said, heck yeah!”

Read’s articles detailing the different aspects of the Cross Street Market redevelopment here.

 The Phubs team at a Cross Street Market announcement in October, 2018. 

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