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With Mot Hai Ba, Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare Continue Their Plan of World Domination

Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare are opening a new Vietnamese restaurant named Mot Hai Ba tonight. I don't know the days of the week very well, so I checked it out last night, before they were open. So, take a look, drool, and drive your mopeds there tonight. Behold: A Sampling of the Food Things of Mot Hai Ba.

I was treated to three dishes at Mot Hai Ba. The first was their steamed rice noodle, pork, mushroom and crispy shallot. This came with a bowl of broth, which Johnson instructed me to dip the rolls into. Just as I finished the roll, a staff member came by my table and slid a fried egg into the remaining broth. Nobody hates that.

Because people have made such a big dang deal out of the name of this restaurant (Saying that "Mot Hai Ba tops the cake of really, really bad names," and "I'm adding it to our growing list of worst names for restaurants, ever"), I figured it was a good idea to clarify with Johnson and O'Hare that I had mastered the correct pronunciation of the name.

Steamed rice noodle, pork, mushroom, crispy shallot things.
Steamed rice noodle, pork, mushroom, crispy shallot things.
Alice Laussade

So, let me check that I have the spelling of your restaurant's name correct: It's M-o-t, H-a-i, B-a, right? Johnson: Yeah.

And that's pronounced, "My Hot Butt," correct? Johnson: Close.

Chargrilled pork belly and pork meatball with vermicelli, herbs
Chargrilled pork belly and pork meatball with vermicelli, herbs
Alice Laussade

People seem to think the name of your restaurant is really hard to pronounce. Why didn't you just name it something easier to say, like "Mooyah?" O'Hare: Mooyah is easy to pronounce but it's hard to spell.

I'm assuming you didn't name it something creative, like "Vietnam Restaurant" because that was already taken. Johnson: My mom wanted to name it "Nom Nom," but we immediately said no to that one. We were like, "We'd never live that one down."

Why did you choose a location with so much parking? O'Hare: After Goodfriend, we learned that lesson. Only external parking. Johnson: We will be offering a discount if you ride a moped here, though.

Pretty sure this translates to: There's only street parking at Mot Hai Ba. Figure it out.
Pretty sure this translates to: There's only street parking at Mot Hai Ba. Figure it out.
Alice Laussade

So you and Colleen have done tacos, burgers, Acme food, food truck food, Vietnamese food -- what's next? Johnson: Retirement.

Shaking beef, red onion, watercress
Shaking beef, red onion, watercress
Alice Laussade

Tonight, Mot Hai Ba will open for dinner service. After that, hours will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday , and 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Sunday.


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