A Faux Pasteur: Local Eatery Changes Its Name

Gloria B. Ho

At what used to be the Vietnamese restaurant Pho Pasteur in the Garage, the menus remain, the management is the same, but the name is changed.

Owner Duyen V. Le, 55, decided to rename his restaurant a few weeks ago to Le’s because he wanted to personalize his four-location chain.

Le bought up what he says was an unsuccessful Pho Pasteur on Neelan Street in Boston 14 years ago from another Vietnamese immigrant.

He said his menu and management skills helped him reinvigorate the restaurant, and he opened four more locations throughout the city and in Cambridge.

But Le was irked by the plethora of restaurants that have the same name. “Pho Pasteur” is popular among Vietnamese immigrants who open up eateries in the United States. Pasteur is the name of a well-known avenue in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. The Pho Pasteur, for example, in Carrolton, Texas has no connection to Le’s chain.

Although Pho Pasteur is not a copyright protected name, Le has copyrighted his own name, Le’s, because he feels a personal connection to the restaurants he created under the previous title.

“I made it become successful in this city. The name became famous because I did it. I built it up...Now I just want to use my family name,” Le said.

He said that in the future he may start franchising his chain—something he could not do without a distinctive brand name.

Manager of the Garage location, Hong Neguyen, said that he hopes the name change will not confuse customers.

“Some people will be looking for a Pho Pasteur, and they will be surprised,” he said.

But customers at the Gararge Le’s said that the name change did not throw them off at all.

“It’s the same people running it, the same menu,” said Lisa Baci of Lexington, Mass., who was eating at Le’s yesterday afternoon.

—Please send Harvard Square news to staff writer Shifra B. Mincer at smincer@fas.harvard.edu.