Beloved pho restaurant Turtle Tower permanently closes last SF location


San Francisco’s beloved Vietnamese restaurant Turtle Tower has permanently closed.

Culinary icon closes: The restaurant, known for its northern-style pho, shut down its last remaining location at 501 Sixth St. in SoMa on Nov. 19, marking the end of its 23-year culinary journey. This comes only months after the original Larkin Street location’s closure in September.

Challenges after challenges: Co-owner Steven Nghia Pham told the San Francisco Chronicle that the decision to close was due to the challenges plaguing the restaurant industry, noting "Everything is so hard to do business, so we close."

Turtle Tower reportedly faced a 50% drop in business sales at the onset of the pandemic. They also encountered further setbacks with the closure of the Tenderloin site in September.

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Co-owner Thao Pham previously shared that the daytime robbery at the Larkin Street location in May 2020 left them feeling unsafe in their restaurant and neighborhood.

Leaving a legacy: Turtle Tower, which first opened its doors in January 2000, became a popular destination through the years, attracting both locals and celebrities. Among its frequent patrons is comedian Ali Wong, who considered it among her favorite San Francisco restaurants.

While the specifics behind the closure remain undisclosed, the owners hinted there’s still a chance of partnering up on a new location of Turtle Tower down the road.

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