Wednesday, May 14, 2008

'Viet Bowl' A Welcome Addition On An Otherwise Blighted Stretch Of Wilson

Wow, folks. We just got back from lunch at the newly opened "Viet Bowl" at 1122 W. Wilson and are utterly amazed. The food was delicious. The interior was immaculately redone in granite and marble, very modern lighting throughout and even features several waterfalls built into the walls. The service was friendly and attentive and we were told that for the first month, non-alcoholic drinks are complimentary with any order. They also specialize in smoothies and we saw quite a few folks sampling them. These entrepreneurs spent some serious cash on this establishment and we encourage our readers to check it out! They also have installed quite a few security cameras throughout the restaurant so this will hopefully cut down on the excessive loitering due to their neighbor to the west. Call 773-271-2272 or carryout orders.


  1. Wow - looks beautiful! What a good example of how a location can dramatically improve. Hopefully its a catalyst for more good changes.

  2. Don't use the word blighted.

    It might give Helen some more TIF ideas for the block.

  3. Wow! Congratulations Viet Bowl! Do you think they have any friends who would like to open up a similar establishment between Lawrence and Argyle?

    Also, any chance that they will offer an Uptown Update discount? :)

  4. Yay! I can't wait to check this place out. Hopefully with Cafe Magnolia expanding too, this is a sign of things to come on that strip of Wilson.

  5. Credit to the owners for putting this place where they did.

    Takes some balls to invest your dough next door to ... well, what's next door.

    I'm definitely going to swing in and thank them by partaking of some of the tastiness.

  6. Isn't this where 7/11 is supposed to go?

  7. yourfriendlyneighborMay 15, 2008 at 10:17 AM

    Just got some carry out from there last night. Overall very tasty and I'm glad they are there. It definitely lightens up the street.

    One word of caution to others ordering carry out. I had one of the bowls with beef. When I got it home and unpacked everything, they had each seperate element of the soup (broth, bean sprouts, meat, etc) in its own package and you have to combine them. Much to my surprise the beef was completely raw! However, there really isn't an issue with this as its very thinly sliced and, when combined with the steaming broth, quickly cooks and becomes very tender and delicous. However, I could see some people freaking out about having a package of raw meat as a part of their dinner.

  8. I like how in the picture there is a lady sniffing the gas meter that the tenants of the hotel usually sit on.

    Whats it smell like?

    Restaurant looks nice. I am going to try it this weekend.

  9. Would it possible for Uptown Update to scan in a menu from Viet Bowl(or other Uptown establishments) and keep them in a centralized place? This would be especially nice for take out or delivery. Most of these places are too small to have their own website, and I never think about grabbing a menu until I'm hungry.

  10. Isn't there a centralized menu site for Chicago? Not that I am opposed to UU doing anything with local menus but this would also be a FABULOUS thing for the local chamber of commerce to have on their website and it might increase traffic there as well.

    I am not interested in getting into a long Chamber discussion yet again but c'mon guys---how about rolling out some consumer friendly initiatives for the community? We're eager for just about anything you could do!

  11. Hi yourfriendlyneighbor - I've had Vietnamese food several times, and when you get a bowl like that, the beef does come raw. The idea is that the beef cooks in the soup at the time of serving, which obviously works well when you eat in, but doesn't 'translate well' to carry-out. In any event, please don't take it as a poor restaurant practice! :)

  12. is a great website...menus also shows who delivers to your address, and if they are delivering at the time of your inquiry....check it out..

  13. Cooking the meat in the bowl is called pho......there are plenty of other options for carry-out

  14. yourfriendlyneighborMay 15, 2008 at 2:17 PM

    wow...some of you people are a little touchy...(that's you "anonymous 1:13")

    "Cooking the meat in the bowl is called pho......there are plenty of other options for carry-out"

    Thanks, I know there are other places for carryout and your tone isn't appreciated. Also, I'm familiar with pho but hadn't had it via carryout before. As I said the raw meat wasn't an issue for me, but I thought it definitely could be for some people (usually when you get it in the restaurant it already comes already cooked in its broth).

    ltn318-thanks for the tip, as stated above, I certainly don't have an issue with raw meat either. I merely hadn't had it via carryout before and wasn't quite expecting a plastic wrapped bundle of raw meat. Not a bad reflection on the place by any means.

    Everyone else...a good place for menus is They have menus for virtually every place in Chicago. However they convert them to their own format so sometimes don't get each restaurants specials and/or coupons. Also its better for carryout as the site doesn't usually specify which restaurants deliver or to where (for that, try grub hub as a prior poster mentioned).

  15. OP..."anon 1:13"

    By "there are plenty of other options"...I meant within the restaurant...not being the slightest bit "touchy"....going to try Viet Bowl tonight and I am looking forward to it...great addition to our neighborhood...interior looks great also!!

  16. The best and most complete compiled/maintained Restaurant Menu page service I have found is

    I didn't find VietBowl there yet, but it's a great site to see menus in a consistent way and also do some interesting restaurant filtering and read reviews.



    I went last night and was very weary of walking there with the Wilson Hotel guests but no one was around, some people associated with the restaurant were actually outside, posting guard i suppose or waiting for friends. We were sat right away and the staff was so very nice. very polite and kind. The woman who waited on us was very funny, she asked how we liked the decor since she did it herself, she was too cute!

    I heart it and hope many others go and love it, and they stay in business, and can i also hope the business next to it closes? would that be going too far? :)

  18. "Bacon"... those are great comments you have for VB.

    I would really suggest posting that as a review on Yelp as many more people will see it and help their rep...especially as a new place, that means a lot in Chicago for any restaurant.

    Just my two cents! ;)

  19. I tried it for carryout tonight, getting one of the pho dishes with beef (raw) and meatballs (already cooked and sitting in the broth.) It is a little weird getting raw meat in saran wrap, but it was of high quality and very fresh, definitely a step or two above the beef I see in most "budget" asian restaurants.

    I had never tried anything like this before, but it works really well, as the beef is thin enough to cook in the hot broth in 30 seconds easily. You then throw in the noodles and some sprouts, basil and scallions (I think that's what they were), as well as a little chili paste if you like some heat. It was absolutely delicious. And under $10. If the raw meat cooking in broth is a dealbreaker for you, there are a number of more familiar options.

    As for the restaurant itself, the decor's a little cheesy for my tastes, but pride, care and good workmanship are abundant everywhere you look. They have obviously put a lot of effort and heart and soul into the place. We should all be THRILLED that they're here. It certainly made my day!

  20. Food - best Pho in Chicago. The food are really fresh. Beautiful atmosphere... NEED MAJOR IMPROVEMENT on SERVICE !!! Bring out food to the wrong table, some people in the same table gets food way before others. Been there twice, foods were great both times but REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY need to work on service. I understand that its a new business, but they should get the basic customer service skills right to maintain their customers. Eventhough the food were great, i don't think i will come back due to service..