Pho for Christmas

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Folks in Mayfair know if they’re looking to escape for a drink after a long Christmas Day at home with the fam, Grey Lodge Pub is where to turn.

The neighborhood tavern and craft beer destination has opened for evening business each Dec. 25 for ages, but the kitchen has always remained closed. That changes this year. On Christmas Night 2018, the pub is serving a full complement of food to go along with its liquid refreshment — Vietnamese food.

From 7:30 p.m. until supplies run out, the crew from Pho Saigon on Bustleton Avenue will take over the Grey Lodge stoves and offer a menu of favorites from owner Chuong Le’s native land.

The “Pho La La, La La La” collab came about because bar owner Mike “Scoats” Scotese recognized that many patrons actually might enjoy some sustenance with their drinks — especially if Noel wasn’t necessarily more to them then a midweek day off.

“I started thinking about ‘Jewish Christmas’ aka Chinese food,” Scotese explained, referencing the storied tradition that’s popular in Philly and other cities in the Northeastern U.S., “and [trying to work] with a Chinese restaurant to offer delivery to the Grey Lodge on Xmas night.”

Credit: Grey Lodge Pub

However, Scoats didn’t know any local Chinese restaurant operators personally, he said — at least not well enough to approach them with a last-minute harebrained scheme. Who did he know?

“Chuong has been coming to the Grey Lodge for years now,” Scotese explained.

Pho Saigon is located just over a mile from the pub, and the two proprietors have become friends. They decided that not only would they do the Christmas Night kitchen swap — they’d do it for a good cause.

When the bowls of pho, spring rolls and grilled pork belly banh mi start going out, all proceeds brought in will be donated to Feast of Justice, a Mayfair anti-hunger nonprofit.

“We should still have lots of amazing holiday beers on tap, too,” said Scotese, who’s launching a nanobrewery down the block later this year. “Christmas beers and Vietnamese food! Ho ho ho!”

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Danya Henninger

Danya Henninger is director of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the...