Find Out Which Garden Grove Restaurant Was Just Awarded the James Beard Foundation’s Big Honor

Pho 79 Was One of Five Big Winners

Written By: Charlotte Farrell Pho 79 Garden Grove

During what seemed like the longest January, 2019 is still chugging along. Diet-related resolutions aside, some have continued to instead focus on more existential goals like traveling more, calling their mother once a week rather than monthly, and, steering in the opposite direction of counting calories, some vow to broaden their culinary palates and explore new cuisine in unsuspecting places.

Today, the James Beard Foundation announced its highly-anticipated recipients of its 2019 America’s Classics Award, giving a local OC spot its hearty thumbs up. The James Beard America’s Classics Award is given to locally-owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are adored and beloved for their dedication to quality food and maintaining strong ties as well as reflecting the character of their community.

The 2019 winners join the ranks of over 100 restaurants from across the USA that have been awarded the honor since the category was introduced in 1998. The top spots will be well-deservedly applauded at the annual James Beard Awards Gala ‪on Monday, May 6‬ at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  

“In an industry where longevity is quite an achievement, it is important to honor and celebrate the establishments that have stood the test of time, like the restaurants being recognized as America’s Classics this year,” says Clare Reichenbach, James Beard Foundation CEO in a press release. “These restaurants provide not only wonderful culinary experiences, but are important and enduring pillars in their communities.”

Now for the big reveal. OC’s own Pho 79 in Garden Grove can officially call itself a member of the big leagues. Owners Tong Trần and Liễu Trần have proved themselves worthy of the honor, serving up drool-inducing bowls of slippery rice noodles in beefy broth, topped with eye of round steak, brisket, tripe, meatballs or the restaurant’s legendary oxtails. If you’re dropping what your dining to get there, you’re not alone, and get in line because there are people outside waiting around the block to get a taste.

Orange County, California, is a hub of vibrant Vietnamese-American communities in the country, and Pho 79 is its shining star. Opened in 1982, it was one of the first of its kind in the area, and with chef Lieu Trần in the kitchen, Pho 79 opened the door to SoCal’s Little Saigon, transforming it into dynamic core of Vietnamese cuisine as we know it in 2019.

The next gen of the Trần family keeps the dream alive. The family’s story includes fearless risk-taking and stellar grub, it’s heart derived from a community that rose from war and displacement to creating a lasting influence on American cuisine. And we are forever grateful. Happy eating!

Pho 79
‪9941 Hazard Ave‬
‪Garden Grove, CA 92843‬

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Charlotte is a fan of all things beauty, health, food, wellness, travel and a touch of nerdy fandom. She graduated with honors from the University of California, San Diego in Communications and English Literature and enjoys writing, looking at puppies on Instagram and drinking all the tea.


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