In 2010 Pat Lee noticed that Vietnamese food had not gone mainstream. He and his wife, Sara, were operating a franchise of a Houston-based Vietnamese restaurant at the time. They researched opening a fast-casual restaurant with counter service and opened PhoNatic Vietnamese Cuisine on Anderson Lane in October 2011.
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For diners looking to avoid greasy hamburgers and dishes drowned in butter, there may be an option you haven’t considered: Vietnamese food.
When I first heard about this new fast-casual Vietnamese concept, I was skeptical, thinking the menu would be sanitized for mass consumption rather than remain “authentic.” But my preconceptions quickly disappeared upon my first visit to PhoNatic. Everything we have tasted so far at this locally owned mini-chain-in-the-making has been fresh, flavorful, beautifully presented, served incredibly fast and piping hot by friendly and efficient staff.
Local Vietnamese spot PhoNatic, the Allandale fast-casual brainchild of the family behind the sprawling Asian grocery superstore MT Supermarket on North Lamar, will expand to three locations in 2013, moving into South Austin and an as-yet unannounced third spot this year, both of which will be served by a new, central commissary kitchen. The south location, at Interstate 35 and Slaughter Lane, will open sometime in February.