By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jan 29, 2024 at 1:01 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

There's almost nothing better during the chilly winter months than a steaming hot bowl of soup. Fortunately, the time is ripe to get out and warm up with VIA CDC's annual event: Phobruary, a celebration of the classic Vietnamese soup, which has grown in popularity across Southeast Asia and the world.

During the event, which runs Feb. 1 through Feb. 29, guests are encouraged to dine in at participating South Side restaurants and enjoy specially priced $7 bowls of Pho (plus additional specials at some participating restaurants). Guests are also encouraged to share their positive experiences at those eateries on social media. 

Note: Phobruary pecials are available during specified hours only (see below). Restaurants may be busy during this special event, so guests should be especially kind, exercise patience and tip generously. 

Participating restaurants

3427 W. National Ave., (414) 316-9023

Specials available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Specials: $7 Small Beef Pho Bowl

Thai Bar-B-Que
3414 W. National Ave., (414) 647-0812

Specials available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

  • $6.99 Small Steak Pho Bowl
  • $6.99 Chicken Fried Rice 
  • $2.99 Egg Roll (2 pieces) 
  • $6.99 Crab Ragoon (10 pieces) 

Vientiane Noodle Shop
3422 W. National Ave., (414) 672-8440

Specials available Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Specials: $7 Regular Beef & Meatballs Pho Bowl

Weekly giveaways

Throughout February, VIA CDC will host special Phobruary giveaways during which participating diners can win a $25 gift card for one of the participating restaurants.

For more information about Phobruary, including how to enter the giveaway please visit and follow VIA on Facebook and Instagram.

More about pho

Vietnamese pho is a soup that's said to have originated in Northern Vietnam. But, since the Vietnam War, it's a dish that's been shared widely by Vietnamese refugees, increasing its popularity across the globe.

The secret of pho – which is pronounced "fuh" or "feu" – lies in its long cooking time, typically at least a three or four hour steep, which extracts flavor and heft from meaty marrow bones, usually beef. The broth is then supplemented with a custom blend of spices like cinnamon, cloves, coriander, star anise and cardamom.

In fact, one of the fun things about pho is that each bowl of steaming broth is distinctive thanks to both the cooking time and the specific mix of spices used. So, if you're not fond of one restaurant's pho, it's worth your while to sample another spot's broth to see if you like it better.

But, potentially the best part of eating pho is the ability for diners to customize their bowls with add-ins and garnishes like Thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeno slices, lime juice and condiments like fish sauce, hoisin and Sriracha. Every bowl of pho is, ultimately, a personal creation.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.