Local teacher opens new restaurant in Edmonton

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Anne Ton isn’t your typical schoolteacher. When the last bell rings, signifying the end of the day, Ton hangs up her teaching hat and heads over to her new family restaurant.

Ton, who teaches math at Lorne Akins Junior High School, decided to partner with her family and build the restaurant two years ago. Now PhoEver is slated to open its doors by the end of the month in Griesbach, Edmonton.

PhoEver combines traditional and fusion Vietnamese flavours with an unusual twist, delivering a new take on Asian cuisine.

“The chef has a passion for cooking,” Ton says. “She plays around with different ingredients and she wanted to spice it up a bit. It’s not just your authentic and traditional Vietnamese dishes.”

“I’m really excited to see the restaurant open, it’s been a long process,” she says. “To have an Asian restaurant that’s warm, inviting and comfortable.”

Ton and her family travelled from Vietnam to Canada in the early 1990s as refugees. Her mother, Helen Huynh, taught accounting at a community college in Vietnam, but switched to the restaurant business upon arriving in Canada.

In 2009 Helen opened her own pho and Vietnamese restaurant in Edmonton. A few years ago she retired. Anne says Helen quickly grew restless.

With 20 years of culinary expertise under her belt, Helen jumped back into business as the chef of PhoEver, and is the mastermind behind all 106 items on the menu.

Anne’s favourites on the menu are Fried Cream Cheese and Shrimp Puffs and the Mango Shrimp Salad

“She loves to come up with new dishes that still has that authentic taste but likes to make it different. I’ve never seen anything with cream puff in Asian fusion,” Anne says.

Helen’s Mango Shrimp Salad has a flavourful mixture of sweet, sour and spice, which Anne says pushes the plate to the top of the menu.

Vince Nguyen, Anne’s husband and co-owner of PhoEver, says he’s excited for the restaurant to open.

“Things are coming together very nice,” he says. “It’s going to be a very cosy place.”

He says the family had its sights on Griesbach, in Edmonton’s northwest quadrant, since the area started developing more residential and commercial buildings a couple of years ago.

Anne says the restaurant will also have longer hours, appealing to weekenders not ready to call it a night. On Fridays and Saturdays the restaurant will be open until 3 a.m. and on Sunday the restaurant will be open until 9 p.m.

The 2,585 square-foot interior will seat 64 patrons. The patio seats 20 people.

“I think the restaurant should have that cosy, comfortable environment to provide that space for the customers. I would like people to say that this is the spot to have good drinks and good food with their friends, and stick around and mingle,” she says.

The restaurant will be open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about the restaurant, visit the website at www.phoever.ca.

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Dayla Lahring

Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.