As I pop into Downtown St. Pete (DTSP) to interview the Key Personalities and Business Owners who make up this big little city, I tend to wrap up each meeting by asking what their favorite things to do in DTSP are. A certain restaurant was pounded into my head dozens of times, interview after interview, and I just had to find out what all the hype was about. La V Vietnamese Fusion (www.lavfusion.com), located at 441 Central Avenue, doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the inside is the perfect example of a divine atmosphere with healthy entrees that will leave your mood and appetite quite happy. No wonder they were voted Best of the Bay 3 times in 2015: Best Vietnamese Restaurant, Best Pho, Best Banh Mi Sandwich! If you are a local, chances are you have already visited this crowd favorite for lunch or dinner, however, the management has shifted hats earlier this year and owner Thuy Le (pronounced ‘Twee’) and her staff have some exciting new changes in place – a new menu, delivery, and even late night options.
First of all, allow me to introduce to you Jason Saal who took over as manager of La V in February of 2015. After leaving corporate America, he certainly does not regret his decision to work with Thuy at both of her businesses (Nouvelle Beauty Bar is located just a few doors down!).
“She’s remarkable boss and person,” Saal explains about the owner. “She is genuine and actually cares. We are all family and there is no favoritism.” He went on to tell me that Thuy has actual family members who work in the kitchen, like Thuy’s sister – MaiTram Tran, and a few of her cousins, and nobody gets treated better or worse. They call one another “sister” and “brother” in the back of house, which I adore because you truly can feel a sense of family and comfort in the restaurant.
Thuy and Jason have decided together on some new improvements that are worth celebrating! (Grab a cocktail at La V and cheers to changes – “Một hai ba, yo!”)
First of all, the menu has recently changed. There are some yummy new items, which means that clients still have their favorites and also have options to branch out and explore new tastes. Not sure what to order when you visit La V? Some of their most popular items include Spring Rolls, La V Vermecelli Noodle Bowl, and of course, the Pho – which is so delicious that it does not necessarily need the garnishes served with it to complete the taste. (They have some not-so-healthy choices too, like deep fried cheesecake! Shhh, I can keep a secret if you can.)
Customers also keep returning for the Boba Teas. These are simple smoothies with tapioca pearls and they have some pretty interesting flavors to choose from – horchata, which is similar to Spanish eggnog, acovado, green been, java chip, and everything in between. (I’ll be honest, the tapioca balls totally aren’t my favorite thing because they shoot up from the straw like balls at a batting cage, but after making a funny face, Jason kindly informed me that you can order them without the pearls. They’re always putting the customer first over at La V!)
What else is new? The restaurant now delivers until 9pm all over downtown on their fancy new hybrid bicycle that reaches a top speed of 20mph! (Okay, they put their customers AND the environment first!) Are you wanting to order, but are not exactly located right downtown? Don’t you worry darling; I’m sure they will make an exception and deliver to you if you ask nicely!
This swanky spot also offers late night entertainment and their full menu! That’s right, no more pizza and tacos because La V is open until 4am on Friday and Saturdays with local DJ, DJ Skeelow, providing music to keep the atmosphere electrifying. (Skeelow opens up for some big names at Jannus Live including DMX and Cypress Hill.)
Another draw they have created for us to enjoy is that every First Friday La V is hosting a themed party. This month was a masquerade ball – join the fun late nights at La V!
441 Central Ave, St Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 10pm
Friday – Saturday: 10am – 4am
Catering to all of your needs including private parties, offsite catering, late night dining, entertainment, and a healthy lunch spot with outdoor seating, La V is a staple in Downtown St. Pete. Next time you pop in, say hello to owner Thuy Le and manager Jason Saal and tell them that DowntownSt.Pete.com sent you. While you are there, post a picture onto Downtown Now – we’d love to hear from you! If you haven’t JOINED US yet, then do so now.