Nothing "Phony" About Pho Tic Tac

The original Pho Tic Tac, after the fire.
When the Greenwood arsonist went on his burning spree in 2009, one of the businesses he razed was the neighborhood's Pho Tic Tac.

But for owner Loan Nguyen, seeing her Vietnamese noodle shop blowing ashy clouds like Uma Thurman chain-smoking in Pulp Fiction wasn't as devastating as it could have been. In fact, Nguyen felt luckier than the other business owners on her block: Five months before the fire, she'd opened a second Pho Tic Tac on Aurora Avenue when she was told her building lease would not be renewed.

While there's no shortage of pho restaurants around town, Pho Tic Tac has a flock of loyal customers who migrate north to Aurora from Greenwood whenever they want their noodle fix. It's no surprise why: Bowls of pho come from the kitchen piping hot with heaps of meat piled atop a bed of rice noodles, all swimming in a savory broth that will make you declare true love. And unlike many of Seattle's pho houses, Pho Tic Tac has a vegetarian pho generously packed with carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and celery that could make even the most demanding of herbivores cheer. The pho comes with the standard pho-restaurant fare: Toss in a handful of sprouts or some slices of jalapenos for added texture or flavor, or wolf down a creampuff for a pre-dinner dessert.

Even on a gloomy weekday night, the cheerfully decorated Pho Tic Tac has a noteworthy smattering of customers at its tables. Pumpkin-painted walls, adorned with simple, unimpressive paintings, greet diners as they slurp down their noodles.

While the original Pho Tic Tac might be gone, Nguyen's second location is a flavorful reminder of this restaurant's fireproof resilience and perfected pho.

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