Vietnamese Lantern celebrates anniversary

The Vietnamese Lantern restaurant, located in Two Harbor's historic Harbor Landing building, marks its one-year anniversary on November 7th, under new owners Minh Huynh and Lilly Bailey Pham. The married couple is inviting everyone to help mark this moment in time with a bowl of fragrant phở as well as their other menu items.

The Vietnamese Lantern has existed in Two Harbors under several different owners over the last three decades. In an area dominated by chicken wild rice soup, kroppkakor, and tater tot hotdish it has become the go-to spot for those with a craving for something different. A variety of Vietnamese and Chinese-American entrees & appetizers have populated the menu in that time.

Over the last year, the Lantern's traditionally made phở  has gained new popularity with area residents and visitors alike. Pronounced 'fuh,' it has been a Vietnamese staple for over a century. A noodle soup consisting of bone broth (either chicken or beef), 'bánh phở' rice noodles, various cuts of meat, and a blend of fragrant spices. Broth preparation is a time-consuming labor of love taking over 6 hours to complete. Much like a great Italian marinara or a Mexican mole sauce, the time spent is worth it. Served with a mix of garnishes such as bean sprouts, chili peppers, and lime wedge it becomes a meal unto itself rather than the appetizer position that most soups maintain in American cuisine. 

The married couple has spent the last year streamlining various aspects of the business including the menu. Both are originally from Vietnam with Huynh having spent the past 20-years working as a machinist in Woodbury, MN. Pham arrived in the US in 2012, working as a cook in Washington state before marrying Huynh and moving to Minnesota.

It has been a lifelong dream of Pham's to own a restaurant such as the Lantern. Born in Da Nang, raised in Saigon, she attended university there earning a Food Sciences degree. After college, she worked as a caterer honing her skills preparing the vast variety of dishes served during traditional Vietnamese weddings that can include hundreds of guests and last up to three days.

The Vietnamese Lantern, located in Two Harbors' historic Harbor Landing building on 7th Ave, is open from 11 AM to 8 PM Monday through Saturday.