Friday will be the last day for pho, imperial rolls, and lemongrass steak at the longstanding, family-owned Vietnamese restaurant Aux Delices, as the husband-and-wife team who’ve run the place for decades has decided to retire.
One of the oldest surviving Vietnamese restaurants in San Francisco is heading into its final days. The Chronicle reported Tuesday that Russian Hill Vietnamese restaurant Aux Delices, which originally opened in 1975 at a separate Potrero Hill location, will serve its last meals on Friday, June 30, at its Polk and Union Street location.
A Vietnamese restaurant with French colonial influences, including an elegant interior with white tablecloths and high ceilings, Aux Delices was originally opened in 1975 across the street from SF General Hospital by Sinh Luong as one of San Francisco's first Vietnamese restaurants at the time. Luong handed the business down to her son Chris Nguyen, who with his wife Thiet "Tina" Nguyen, continue to run the business to this day.
“She lost everything and she started all over again,” Chris Nguyen said of his mother, speaking to the Chronicle. “She was an incredible woman.”
The current Aux Delices in Russian Hill opened in 1987, which was a second location, though the original Potrero Hill spot closed in 1994. But the Russian Hill spot would soon become the bigger hit, and actor William Shatner was known to be a fan. A glowing 1992 writeup in the New York Times really put Aux Delices on the map, though its description of the Polk Gulch area that was then a burgeoning Asian-American cuisine scene rather humorously rings true today.
“While I wouldn't recommend a nighttime visit (not because of danger so much as sleaze), by day the area is full of interest and relatively safe (that is, lock your car and keep your handbag closed and close),” the Times wrote in 1992.
The Nguyens are choosing to retire, so let’s not have any of that “doom loop” conflation. That said, the Nguyens had hoped to find a buyer, but did not find anyone they considered suitable.
If you want to grab your last meal at Aux Delices, they’re open from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Image: Ed U. via Yelp