One minute it’s there, the next it’s gone. It’s easy to pull the vanishing act with a little bit of makeup and a few stage lights. But, maybe all it takes are a few decorative IKEA curtains.
At Phuc Yea, white IKEA curtains decorated with tiny Red Riding Hoods and her Big Bad Wolf mask the fact that the space, known as Crown Bistro during the day, moonlights as a hip Vietnamese pop-up restaurant by night. While it’s not the first pop-up, Phuc Yea is the first of its scale to appear in Miami. That means taking over another restaurant’s space during its off hours and converting it into a whole new venue for a short period of time.
“Technically we could open as a full restaurant,” partner Daniel Treiman said. “But the reason we opened as a pop-up was because it gives us a chance to test out a new concept, maybe something that doesn’t already exist in Miami.”
Treiman had been thinking of opening a pop-up restaurant for two years, and when he met business manager Aniece Meinhold and head chef Cesar Zapata at the Blue Piano, he knew he had found the right partners to embark with on the project.
From there, it was simple deciding what to put on the menu. Since Meinhold’s mom is Vietnamese, and Zapata and Treiman both love eating Vietnamese food, they chose to focus on traditional southern Vietnamese dishes with a modern twist.
“We really want to create a dining experience that is based on the things we love, and to have creative freedom,” Meinhold said. “That’s what’s good about the pop-up concept.”
On Zapata’s quest for a name, he googled Vietnamese baby names and came across one that was just suggestive enough to garner the right amount of attention.
“I saw the name ‘Phuc’ and I was like, ‘wow, that’s crazy, I feel sorry for this kid,’” Zapata said. “But phuc actually means prosperity, good luck, and well being. It’s something that says something good is happening in Miami.”
Phuc Yea will be around until mid-November, but Treiman, Zapata and Meinhold hope to give Miami a taste of true Vietnamese cuisine until then.
“That urgency to try something before it’s gone will hopefully draw people in,” Treiman said.