Fans of Mecha Noodle Bar in Fairfield, residents of Norwalk, and noodle lovers everywhere will rejoice in the news that Mecha will be opening a second location right in SoNo’s downtown Washington Street. “We believe in the resurgence of SoNo, that this type of cuisine is a good fit for this urban area,” says Pham. SoNo residents can already be seen peering curiously into the spot that once housed Joe Bruno’s renown Pasta Nostra, now boasting windows lined with garden variety Ramen packets…a sign of things to come.
Mecha owner and chef, Tony Pham, will be joined by longtime friend and owner of Mézon, Richard Reyes. The team grew up together in Bethel with extended families who loved to gather around food, specifically Pho and Hot Pot, courtesy of the Phams. Sharing food with people they love is part of their collective DNA, and Pho is a “Universal comfort food,” says Pham.
For those not already familiar with the menu at Mecha, we’re talking ramen, pho, steamed baos and a well curated selection of Asian plates. Slurping is encouraged, as clearly stated on the menu.
There will be some exciting changes at Mecha’s new SoNo digs. The big news is a large, but intimate bar with Asian inspired specialty drinks and a dedicated late night bar menu. Reyes and Pham are very focused on meeting the needs of SoNo’s late night crowd and younger demographic as well as “expressing culture in both the food and beverages.” The team is focused on tackling a whole new line of Asian inspired spirits including spiked Bubble Teas, as well as high end Slushies made with Shoju and Sake. The goal is to create a dynamic bar scene that will inspire and engage local diners but also serve as a beacon for CT’s local mixologists and guest bartenders to share their craft. With Pham and Reyes, it’s all about community.
“The core menu, about 80%, will be similar to Mecha in Fairfield but part of Asian culture is the constant perfecting of the craft…I am always striving to represent this cuisine better,” says Pham. “Our goal is to create Asian comfort food, a menu you can eat 3-4 times a week.”
The interior will share visual undertones with the Fairfield location continuing the tradition of communal tables, warm woods, and a clean open feel. Harking back to Reyes and Pham’s family meals as kids, Pham says “I love to bring a communal sense to my restaurants.” Architect, Frederick William Hoag (Mecha, Elm, Harvest) is the guy in charge of executing this vision for this 65-70 seat venue dining room.
At the end of our meeting, when asked what role Pham’s family plays in the business, Tony says “I started out doing this for my family. I do this for them. They help me create recipes and we work together in the kitchen.” This sense of family, community, innovation and creating food people love defines the way Reyes and Pham view Mecha and their role as restaurant owners.
Hungry diners should look forward to their first bowl of pho in late October.