Midtown may have emerged as Houston's new destination for boozy good times, but the neighborhood has still managed to maintain its old school Vietnamese restaurants like Mai's, Cali Sandwich and Les Givrals. In addition to providing a ready source of inexpensive meals, these restaurants help sustain at least some tradition in a rapidly changing scene.
Sadly, Van Loc, one of those longest-lived Vietnamese restaurants in Midtown, posted a sign on its front door announcing its closing. An owner tells the Houston Press that the family has decided to retire after 28 years in business, and that the restaurant will be gone by Thanksgiving.
For many people, Van Loc was the first place they learned to eat pho or experienced the joy of egg rolls in a bowl of vermicelli and fish sauce. To this day, the restaurant remains a popular lunch destination, even as savvy foodies have turned to newer, better tasting options like Cafe TH and Thien An.
For many people, Van Loc was the first place they learned to eat pho or experienced the joy of egg rolls in a bowl of vermicelli.
As news of the closing spread, people took to Twitter and Facebook where they have been reacting with a predictable wave of nostalgia, but, like with Lucky Burger, it's hard to know how many of them have actually eaten at Van Loc recently. Local attorney Sammy Ford said a recent visit featured "the single worst service I have ever had in a restaurant."
A stand-alone restaurant with parking in Midtown is rare and valuable commodity. One thing is certain — expect whatever replaces Van Loc to be flashier and more expensive than the restaurant that proceeded it.
Will you miss Van Loc, or has it been five years since you last ate there? Let us know in the comments.