Tonight at our weekly dinner, the Human Powered Vehicle Operators of Ottawa (HPVOoO), the local gang of people who ride crazy, fun, kustom, and otherwise interesting bikes, were informed that the Vietnam Noodle House was closing after tonight.
We've been coming here since it opened in 2004, every Sunday, plus Mondays on long weekends, making it over 300 dinners there.
It's located at Humphrey Plaza (the name of which I only discovered last December), at Somerset and Arthur, in the lower level. For reference, that's the same block as the Yangtze.
One of the things we liked about it was it was spacious. We had previously alternated between Istanbouli shawarma place (on Richmond Road near Island Park Drive, which has since moved to Holland Avenue) and Pho Thu Do on Somerset, which was far too small, didn't have vegetarian options, and aside from that had very little variety. (Some say they preferred the pho there, though.)
Another thing I enjoy about the weekly HPVOoO dinners is that they're very anarchistic. Whoever shows up, shows up. Some people show up late, some early. Some weeks there are lots of people, some weeks there are only a handful. I've been there nearly every week, though I don't take photos every week. On this night in early June 2006, there were about two dozen people, including some leaving and others taking their spot. We could build various permutations of tables to suit the attendance.
There was also ample bike parking, both inside and outside.
More recently (and I have no idea if that is months or years), they'd turn the tables down the middle for us every Sunday, and we'd extend it as long as necessary. We regularly get 8-12 people. The guy with the blue collared shirt is one of the servers.
Grant and Mike Watson also come out. Mike built the bike I ride, and often brings new creations of his to showcase. Grant is... let's say he's taught me a few things about how to successfully annoy people (randomly telling someone "you don't know that!" in a conversation, for example). Our weekly dinners, and by extension the VNH, is also a prime distribution hub for Momentum magazine in Ottawa.
Tonight, this was the Last Supper. While they gave us free spring rolls and shakes, it was still a very sad and depressing end to an otherwise very fun weekend.
Goodbye, Vietnam Noodle House. We'll miss you!
The hunt is on for a new affordable, family-friendly, vegetarian-optional, spacious, central, bike-friendly weekly hangout.