Fields Corner pho restaurant ordered shut permanently for repeatedly staying open too late

The Boston Licensing Board today revoked Pho So 1's food-serving and beer-and-wine licenses after its fifth citation in seven months for staying open well past its licensed closing time of 10 p.m.

The revocation of both licenses for the pho restaurant at 223 Adams St. came after a hearing on Tuesday at which owner Hoang Anh Nguyen acknowledged staying open too late on Feb. 8 - but at which both he and a loyal customer said that this time he really got it and would never do it again.

At the hearing, board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini said Nguyen had made a similar claim after the second time detectives found the restaurant open after hours and that she had been finding the claim harder to believe as the restaurant kept appearing before the board.

The revocations do not go into effect immediately, to allow Nguyen to appeal to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.



Free tagging: 


Wow, Harsh!

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I get that the board keeps having to talk to this guy, but it's not like he's repeatedly serving alcohol to underage kids or something. How about just extending the license so he can stay open until midnight and everyone's happy?

That would be a reward for

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That would be a reward for bad behavior. But why didn't they just revoke the booze license and let them stay open as a restaurant? Totally killing a restaurant for not closing on time is way too harsh.

Five Times?

I'm all for cutting breaks when someone makes a mistake but five times in seven months shows he just doesn't give a shit. That's grounds for license revoking.

It's fair grounds for

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It's fair grounds for revoking their liquor license, or for imposing expensive penalties like a temporary closure, but permanently closing the entire restaurant down, for something as innocuous as being open late, is extreme.

Complete shutdown is the type of penalty you expect to see if someone died as the result of some incident, or if the neighborhood was in a constant uproar over a business' impact on the area.

It sounds like the owner's biggest fault is not controlling his pain-in-the-ass brother.


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No one is above the law.

OMG, they're OPEN LATE

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So let's force them to close completely, putting people out of work and depriving the public of a choice.

This is simply an overly draconian punishment for violating an idiotic law. Especially when other establishments in the same block stay open much later than 10 pm.


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[drey-koh-nee-uh n, druh-]


(often lowercase) rigorous; unusually severe or cruel:

Seems applicable to this case.

As Citizen 1 hints at below

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Take away the license after the first time= draconian.

Take away the license after the fifth time= look, I know you are on their side, but it is the fifth infraction. In baseball, you only get 3 strikes. This is like basketball, where you are ejected after the fifth foul. Is it fair in basketball, since the opposing team will most likely get "free throws?" Yes, and it is certainly not draconian in this case.

Fool me once, shame on you.

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Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me 5 times, I'm an effing moron.

Eventually, enough is enough.


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You can always go to their location in Randolph, which is top notch.

Lots of choices around there

I've always preferred Anh Hong overall though specific dishes may be better elsewhere. For instance, I found Sunrise Cafe to have better Bun Bo Hue but haven't been there in a while.

I disagree

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As the people at the Allston Citizens Association (or whatever they are called) used to be quoted as saying on this very website, some people don't want to live close to a restaurant that is open until 4 AM. And while the ACA might be obstructionist, most residents of the city would agree with them that there should be some regulation.

Now don't get me wrong. There are places where it is perfectly fine, so I won't agree with those people who moved next door to the South Street Diner and complained about it being open 24 hours a day, but on the other hand, the residents and the restaurant owners should be able to come to an agreement about what time is a good time to close. This guy said 10, then ignored it. Like Adam said earlier, maybe if he requested a later closing time the first time he was caught things might have ended differently.

That's a fine argument if you

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That's a fine argument if you're zoned residential. This restaurant is in the middle of Fields Corner which is entirely commercial with no residences within at least two blocks. There's no real reason to artificially limit the place's hours to 10 PM in this case, especially with the following in the immediate vicinity open later: Churrascaria Vulcão (open until 11), D'Benny's (11), Yuen BBQ (12:30), Dominos Pizza (3). I do understand that none of those places serve alcohol, but very few restaurants in Dorchester do. The Blarney Stone is right on the other side of the Red Line in the same commercial area, and that's open until 1.

The point is that it's crazy that the hours you're allowed to be open are being controlled not by the zoning/status in a commercial district/etc. but by the board issuing your liquor license. Boston is a really dumb place about stuff like this.

Yeah, but

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All of the restaurants you listed have different closing times and probably requested those times when they applied for their license. This guy had the 10 PM closing and ignored it. Dominos is an outlier because they don't have many (if any) eat in customers.

Or conversely

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I don't know the series of events, so here are 2 options-

1. If other restaurants were open later than 10 when the restaurant was opening up, they should have requested the later closing time.

2. If other restaurants were opening up with closing times later than 10 after they opened, they could have requested a later opening time, with the justification you give "other places are open until midnight, we should be able to, too."

How do they handle this in your town?

Well some regulation is OK

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If this place was near homes that might be bothered by customers arriving at 12:30am, then that would be a problem. As you can see in the streetview, they clearly might be bothering the bank, law office and doctor's office by staying open until 10:05pm.

Not a factor

And I'm sure the businesses near homes would totally appreciate it if he got a free pass while they lose business by following the rules.

He could have applied to stay open later and if approved there wouldn't be a problem.

Here's a suggestion

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Perhaps the CITY should be required to demonstrate WHY the restaurant shouldn't be allowed to stay open later, instead of enforcing an IDIOTIC and OUTDATED regulation whereby a bureaucratic agency (Licensing Board) can arbitrarily decide what hours a tax-paying business can stay open for.

Forcing the business to close is a totally draconian response to what are VERY MINOR violations of a totally unreasonable requirement. I hope they get a good lawyer and win their appeal.

You should attend some licensing hearings

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It's not quite as arbitrary as you think.

The board doesn't just sit there throwing out random closing times at random restaurants. The decision is based on what the applicant wants (usually 2 a.m.) and input from the relevant neighborhood association and city officials (like the mayor and city councilors).

Sometimes the neighbors or city officials have no problems with late hours. Sometimes they do. Then the board tries to come to a compromise. Sometimes that means splitting the difference and sometimes it means a probationary period - it sets a relatively early closing time with the understanding that if the place has no problems during that period (like, say, a year), it will come back and apply for a later closing time.

The key thing is that at the end of the hearing, the applicant knows what time his closing time is. And the designated manager of the place has to affirm that he knows the rules and regulations of the Boston Licensing Board, which includes knowing what time closing time is and what that means (basically, start clearing people out like 30 minutes before that).

Still, yeah, 10 p.m. seems pretty early. But you know what? He could have applied for a later time, but didn't. And he knew that 10 p.m. was his closing time. He knew it when he got hit with his first warning for staying open past that time, back when he even had a lawyer to advise him. And he knew it the second time, and the third, and the fourth, not just because a police sergeant or detective issued him a citation but because he also had to appear before the licensing board - which issued longer and longer suspensions after the second violation.

When exactly would you have drawn the line and said enough's enough?

Answer: You don't draw a line

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Answer: You don't draw a line. There's no need.

As an analogy, consider parking tickets vs. speeding tickets. Some people get dozens of parking tickets a year. As long as they pay the fines, they can still drive their car. If they get too many speeding tickets, then they might get their license suspended. That's a safety hazard.

Staying open late should be like a parking ticket. Serving underage minors or over-intoxicated customers, that should be like a speeding ticket.

You can get five strikes

But you can't cuss out a detective on that fifth strike. That's what did 'em in.

Drink in the basement next time, you idiots. I hate the board and I don't love government, but these guys had a death wish.

The poor dude was totally misunderstood

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He was only referring to the restaurant's line of customers waiting to be served at closing time:


(thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week)

*slow clap*

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I am in awe. I think we've just seen the best pun of 2017, folks.


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I just walked by and they are open.

Why does the city mandate the closing imes of these restaurants

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I actually had a conversation with a friend about why pho restaurants arent open later and he mentioned it was against the law which I was skeptical about but I was definitely proven wrong with this case. It is so crazy how this could be possibly true. I see other restaurants such as saigon seafood and pho hoa open later until 11 (on certain days) but it is true that alcohol is to be only served until 11, however, since when was it a problem to serve food after 11 or later, these chinese restaurants be opened until 1 or 2 or later. So this must be because of alcohol reasons. Im confused because is this because of ill informed advertisement? Is it because they are advertised to open until 10 but have been caught opening much later on numerous ocassions? I dont see that as an issue unless something illegal is happening such as alcohol being sold to minors or gambling in the back but all this doesnt make any sense.

You know what you should have done?

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You should have talked to Mr. Nguyen before the first time he was caught opening too late. Perhaps you could have convinced him to apply for a later closing time.

Ah, but hindsight is 20/20.


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Haha thank the lord the city of Boston is enforcing bedtimes for businesses. This fussy b.s. really holds the city back.

Three people

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Including the owner's brother. With "at least two with full bottles of beer" and watching TV. GASP, THE HORROR. And now they're closed forever. Such BS. You'd think they were having a raucous party, keeping up the neighborhood.

Yes they were warned many times. But any reasonable person would say that they were not "open" just because a couple of the guy's friends were hanging out in there watching TV. Could totally see where culture plays a part in this too (no way the closing time laws are as strictly enforced where this guy comes from).

Unfortunately, when you "disrespect" law enforcement there is usually no hope. Too bad.