Indochine, a Midtown-Belvedere restaurant known for its pho and other Vietnamese dishes, is temporarily closed and will reopen under new ownership later this week. In the meantime, its founders plan to open a new restaurant, named IndoViet, across town near Patterson Park.
Amy Nguyen said she and her husband, Alawi Akbar, who ran the Charles Street restaurant for over five years, let customers know about the forthcoming change in the weeks leading up to its closure on Monday. A pair of notices on the door describe the closure and planned openings of both Indochine and IndoViet.
Nguyen added that hopes for the restaurant started to outgrow its relatively small kitchen.
“I can’t expand the menu in the ways I want to because the kitchen is not accommodating us any longer,” she said. She transferred the lease for the Charles Street space to Thi Nguyen (unrelated to Amy), who will reopen Indochine with the same name and a similar menu Friday, May 3.
In the meantime, Alawi and Amy Nguyen, whose Vietnamese family also runs the Pho Hiep Hoa restaurants in Wheaton and Silver Spring, plan to take time away from running a restaurant.
“My husband and I have been working seven days a week straight [for a while], and we’d like to take the summer off to spend some time with our kids,” she said.
For now, the pair are trying to finalize a location for IndoViet at 3323 Eastern Avenue, across from Chicken Loco in Highlandtown. Nguyen said that the name represents a mix of her Vietnamese heritage and Akbar’s Indonesian background. Indochine featured few Indonesian dishes, but they plan to renovate the new location with a bigger kitchen that will make cooking more Indonesian cuisine, which Nguyen says “takes a long time to make,” possible.
They also plan to use the increased space to offer a full bar, outdoor seating, karaoke and live entertainment. “I have a lot of kids working here who go to Johns Hopkins and are singers and musicians, so we’re hoping to give them some experience playing for customers,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen says that the restaurant, pending successful acquisition of the space at Eastern and Highland Avenues, is slated to open in November 2019.