The restaurant was one of the five winners of this year’s America’s Classics Award, according to an announcement
posted by the foundation.
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“In 1982, Thọ Trần and Liễu Trần first opened Pho 79 when it was among the area’s very first restaurants of its kind, introducing Americans to bowls of slippery rice noodles in beefy broth,” the James Beard Foundation wrote. “With chef Liễu in the kitchen, Pho 79 helped pave the way for Southern California’s Little Saigon to become the dynamic hub of Vietnamese cuisine that it is today.”
Mai Tran, a member of the family that owns Pho 79, said that winning the prestigious award, which is often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world,” is a dream come true, according to The OC Register
“I can’t sleep at night,” she said.
The James Beard Foundation called the restaurant about the award and told them to keep it a secret until they made the official announcement.
“I can’t believe it happened to us. I thought that only happened to the 5-star hotel restaurants. I feel so honored and happy,” Tran added.
Some of Tran’s family members will represent Pho 79 at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 6 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
“My children think we’re workaholics, but that’s how we earned this and now they can’t complain,” she said.