Pho So 1 Has Lost Its License to Serve

The Dorchester noodle shop was reportedly a repeat offender of after-hours rules.
Pho Hai San at Pho So 1 / Photo by Alex Lau for "What the Pho?"

Pho Hai San at Pho So 1 / Photo by Alex Lau for “What the Pho?

The proprietor can appeal to higher authorities, but at this present juncture, it looks like a beloved Dorchester noodle shop is closed for good. Pho So 1 had its licenses to serve both food and drinks revoked by the Boston Licensing Board, Boston Restaurant Talk reports.

Universal Hub was at a hearing this week where the owners, members of the Nguyen family, stood accused of staying open past their legally licensed 10 p.m. closing time on multiple occasions.

During the hearing, a Boston Police Department sergeant testified about driving by the shop “shortly before midnight” on Wednesday, February 8, and stopping to investigate after seeing lights and the TV on inside. The officer said three customers were still there, and he saw at least two with full bottles of beer, UHub reports.

The harsh punishment—revoking Pho So 1’s licenses effectively shutters the establishment—is because this is apparently the fifth time this has happened in just seven months. A Pho So 1 regular attended the hearing and pleaded the non-English-speaking restaurateur’s case, explaining cultural reasons why the Nguyens could not simply kick patrons out when it should be closing time.

But the hearing made it real for the owner: The regular said, “he gets it—he’s scared [of losing his business].”

Too little, too late for the Licensing Board.

“We were given that reassurance the second time,” Chairwoman Christine Pulgini said, per UHub.

Mr. Nguyen can appeal the revocation with the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, according to UHub, but the phone lines are down at Pho So 1.

Pho So 1’s seafood pho hai san was among several destination-worthy bowls. Chef Chris Douglass (Tavolo, Ashmont Grill) told Boston his family goes for chicken, or beef, at the “sentimental” spot.

Pho So 1, 223 Adams St., Dorchester, 617-436-8888.


Jacqueline Cain Associate Food Editor at Boston Magazine jcain@bostonmagazine.com