LOC “RICKY” PHAN may have spent most of his life taking measurements and hemming suits in tailor shops, but he always dreamed of one day owning his own restaurant. That’s because the native of Da Nang in central Vietnam has a deep affection for the ultra-fresh cooking style of his hometown.
“In Da Nang, you don’t cook out of your freezer,” Phan says. “You go to open-air markets and get things fresh that day.” It’s a style of cooking without a lot of sugar or bottled sauces, mostly fresh chiles and herbs, an approach that Phan hopes to embrace at the new upscale steakhouse and hot pot restaurant, Eating Fresh, that he’s opening with his wife, Andrea, a longtime fashion quality-control designer.
The Phans’ College Avenue spot features two types of Wagyu (American and Japanese) as well as three styles of pho and trays of seafood that guests can prepare themselves at one of 24 tabletop grills. With hardwood floors, granite countertops, and plenty of candlelight, the restaurant is an ambitious undertaking, but it is in keeping with Phan’s love of architecture and elaborate constructions.
Why Broad Ripple? “It has the feel of a small town,” Phan says, “but it has the economy and a culture that can appreciate quality Asian food.” He and Andrea hope to have a place where customers come for breakfast as well as an elegant dinner in the evening. “If you want the car to run right, you have to fuel it well.” And that’s exactly what he plans to do for his clientele, making sure that they are well fed throughout the day.