WICKER PARK — Owners of a pho restaurant with locations in Wicker Park and Pilsen are combining the two into a larger storefront on Division Street near Damen Avenue.
Phodega is moving into the former MAK location, 1924 W. Division St., next month.
Since 2019, Phodega has operated at 1547 N. Ashland Ave., where owners Nate Hoops and Anthony Ngo sell pho and other dishes inspired by their Vietnamese and Singaporean heritage, like banh mi and Hainan-style chicken and rice.
Phodega also operates as a corner store, selling candy and snacks from across Asia. The restaurant opened a second location in East Pilsen last year at 1800 S. Jefferson St.
But when the MAK space became available this year, Hoops said he and Ngo jumped at the chance to consolidate the company’s operations in an area with ample foot traffic. The restaurants do about half dine-in business, half-take out, he said.
“We needed both [locations] to accommodate the volume that we do. But now is our kind of our chance to put everybody back in one house,” Hoops said this week. The MAK space “just became available. It’s in a great area, and it seems like a good opportunity for us.”
Phodega will reopen Aug. 11 in its new digs. The Pilsen location has already closed, and the original Wicker Park restaurant will likely shut down a day before the new spot opens, Hoops said.
Phodega plans to expand its menu at its new location, including adding several more banh mi options, Hoops said. They will serve beer and wine and operate a sidewalk patio on Division Street, and eventually include some breakfast options, he said.
Phodega’s new location will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. every day.
Phodega’s move comes a few months after MAK, which stands for Modern Asian Kitchen, owner Jeff Wang announced he was closing his restaurant after more than a decade in business.
“I struggled with this decision because it felt like failure. However, this has not been a failure. Not in the slightest bit. These have been some of the best years of my life and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the community that I love,” Wang wrote on social media in June. “No business is meant to last forever, and we’ve defied the odds by being open for 11+ years.”
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