Friday, February 25, 2011

Mai's Restaurant Rising from the Ashes a Pham-ily Affair

Mai's Restaurant, a Houston institution as the first choice for Vietnamese cuisine for over 30 years, is reopening April 16th fourteen months after a fire threatened to extinguish the hopes and dreams of now four generations of Anna Pham's family. February 15th, 2010 just one day after Tet, the celebration of the Lunar New Year, Mai's Restaurant at 3403 Milam suffered a devastating fire for which no one in the family was prepared.

Anna Pham, grand-daughter of Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in Houston in 1975, was seven months pregnant with her third child. She saw the desperation and loss of hope in her family's eyes and those of employees who had known nothing other than the pride of continuing on the traditions of Houston's first Vietnamese restaurant.

Now just one week away from a Grand Re-Opening for which reservations are currently being accepted, the final touches are being made in preparation for the, albeit interrupted, continued tradition of excellence. The list of those impressed by Mai's Restaurant includes entertaining legends ranging from Patti LaBelle to ZZ Top, and movers and shakers from the political landscape that include ex-Presidents, Mayors, and council members.

Anna Pham charged herself with the accountability and responsibility to lead Mai's Restaurant onward by executing a strategy that embraces a balance between the establishment's revered and honored history with its bright future. A graduate of the University of Houston with a degree in marketing and management and ten years of business experience under her belt, Anna knew that her vision to lead Mai's forward would be well served by a commitment to leverage social media networking and the latest technological applications of Facebook and Twitter with a ubiquitously recognized as requisite web presence.

This departure from the family tradition of business that had previously relied solely on word of mouth and reputation, was in fact a natural progression. Enlisting the expertise of Kimberly Park Communications to ensure the proper marketing of the restaurant and it's reopening means it will be ready to serve its excited loyal clientele hungry to return to one of their favorite restaurants. Anna recognizes dining is a social experience, and her use of Studio Red Architects has left Mai's nearly double the occupancy of the original 107 to 211 left to dine within its tranquil and relaxing design of jade and bamboo.

Anna's vision was to create with interior transitions a marriage of three generations with an appreciation for the foundation of success of the past with hope for the future. The result: hip Japanese Restaurant meets established Steakhouse. Because the restaurant's long hours of availability means Anna had to ensure the interior was as appropriate for people enjoying a business lunch as it was for late-night weekend revelers, she ensured the interior was pleasing and exciting to all.

They say that "taxes" are one of only two guarantees in life. But just one day after your tax returns are due, I guarantee you will be impressed with the efforts borne of the energy and passion of Anna Pham as she has taken Mai's Restaurant forward and beyond tragedy and positioned it for 30 more years of greatness as it continues to be Houston's first choice for Vietnamese cuisine.

Mai's Restaurant
3403 Milam Houston, Texas

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