Cleveland, OH

Looking for a Tasty Bowl of Pho in the Cleveland Area? Go to Pho & Beyond in Strongsville, Ohio

Isla Chiu
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I’ve been trying to do the full-time writer thing. To be perfectly frank, I spend a lot more time looking up petty YouTuber drama and doom-scrolling than actually writing.

I don’t know why I waste so much time. Is it because I’m afraid that I will fail at being a full-time writer even if I put in full-time hours? Do I procrastinate and mess around a lot so that if I end up failing as a writer, I can at least tell myself, Oh, I didn’t work hard enough, but if I did, I might have succeeded? But if I gave it my all and put in 60-plus hours a week every week and still ended up failing, I would have to tell myself that I simply do not have the goods. And if I can’t make it as a writer, then what can I do? Go back to a soulless office job and wait for the sweet release of retirement?

The other day, after I spent some time having a pity party over my writing struggles, I decided to get lunch at Pho & Beyond, a restaurant in Strongsville, Ohio that opened last year. I was excited that a locally-owned Vietnamese restaurant opened in the area. Strongsville has got some good local restaurants, but for every family-owned place, there are ten chain places (some people here were excited about the grand opening of a freaking Arby’s. Often, on the drive home, I see a depressingly long line of cars in the parking lot of the Arby’s. Do people like their mediocre roast beef that much?


At Pho & Beyond, I ordered iced passion fruit tea, spring rolls, and — of course — a bowl of pho with rare beef, meatballs, and a brisket.

The iced tea was refreshing. The spring rolls were hot and crispy, and the filling inside was fresh and flavorful.

But of course, the star of my meal was the pho. The noodles were soft, and I slurped them happily. One of my pet peeves is having undercooked noodles in my pho, a problem that I thankfully did not have at Pho & Beyond. And the meat was tender and fresh, especially the slices of rare beef. And I drank every drop of the broth, which was warm, comforting, and delicious.

During the pandemic, I saw too many good locally owned restaurants close down (and I saw too many soulless chain places take their place). Even in normal times, keeping a restaurant afloat is tough (even harder than making it as a writer when you’re nothing but a hack with a somewhat lacking work ethic). I hope that Pho & Beyond manages to beat the odds and become a successful business because I predict that I’ll be in need of their comforting pho after many a writing/doom-scrolling session at the library.

And maybe, just maybe I’ll manage to beat the odds as well.

If you’re ever in the Cleveland area and craving some pho, here is Pho & Beyond’s website. Located at 13500 Pearl Road, Strongsville, Ohio 44136.

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I write about local eats in the Cleveland area and my struggles of trying to make it as a full-time writer.

Cleveland, OH

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