Linh’s Restaurant (CLOSED)

Editor’s note: As of January 2013, Linh’s Restaurant has closed and moved down the street. It reopened as Linh’s Bistro. See here for Another Food Critic’s review of that restaurant.
4770 Airway Road
Dayton, OH 45431

If I was here only to tell you about food, I would tell you how Linh’s is a good Vietnamese food place with potential and a definite niche market.

Unfortunately, I don’t just talk about food. Instead, I have to relate to you the unfortunate downside of a restaurant with poor service, poor environment and inefficiencies which are quite simply running it into the ground in a very slow, painful and embarrassing way. Linh’s has its food down. Unfortunately, its shortcomings really diminish the importance of that fact.

Linh’s suffers from very inefficient organization which seems to be seriously cutting the attractiveness of dining there. The crux of these problems seems to come out (but are not caused by) the lunch hour rush. If you make it there before noon, you’ll be just fine getting a table. Otherwise you’ll encounter a line maybe out the door and unlikely to move anytime soon. There does not seem to be an efficient designation of dining room workers, so no hostess exists to direct people to places, and none of the servers seems assigned to a group of tables. I saw a number of different groups wait 15 or more minutes for a table, at a time when there were several empty tables. The crowd is uncomfortable for everyone.

More importantly, there is no efficient way to clean anything in the restaurant. There isn’t a busboy to clean tables, so they are left dirty as people wait to sit at them, and the floor is almost too sticky to walk on. Add to that there are cleaning supplies stacked in the open around the dining room.

Regardless of these things, the food is good. Vermicelli bowls of meat and vegetables here are delicious. The soups are outstanding. The kitchen definitely has a great handle on how to cook good Vietnamese dishes. Then, the experience is promptly ruined when you are forgotten by your server and there is literally nothing coming to you after the food. I hate to trash a place with good food; it’s the main reason you’re reading this. But believe me when I say it really runs the experience into the ground.

Since there are no clear areas for the different servers, all the checks are bunched together in just such a way that forces whoever you caught at the front desk to hurriedly search through the entire stack for the right one. It’s an archaic method, and I haven’t seen it in restaurants in a long time.

I hate to sound so harsh, but the simple fact is that the line is out the door here every day. There’s a product for people to enjoy, and an audience which is willing to whether the frustrating experience for it. But we’re next to and Air Force Base here, which makes up the bulk of the customers. These people don’t have the time to wait in such a poorly organized mess, and Linh’s Restaurant has had plenty of time to get its act together.
Linh's Restaurant on Urbanspoon


8 thoughts on “Linh’s Restaurant (CLOSED)

    1. Its a noodle house. Literally a hole in the wall. They aren’t trying to be fancy.That’s the point. Good food with good people. In and out. Straight to the point. Just like how it’s done “back home” As you stated with the line out the door.they kinda need to be straight to the point. Business has actually picked up for linh’s over the past couple years. I don’t see how you can say they’re running themselves into the ground with such a huge crowd following behind them that’s continuously growing. Disorganized checks and seating? What? you go up and pay yourself at the register and you seat yourself dumbas*! They’re obvbiously doing something right. Sorry you had to seat yourself and didn’t get your hands pampered with hot towels. IT’S NOT A 5 STAR RESTAURANT. People actually look for that shit. I love hole in the wall joints because they have thee MOST authentic food out of any “major” restaurant in Dayton. Sad to think you call yourself a “food critic” with such a horrible mindset when it comes to eating out. Let alone when you don’t know how a place runs there business because you’re too americanized to the point where you expect everything handed to you.

      . Meh, oh well I wish you many failures and the worst in life.

      1. weiner,
        This is exactly the mindset that drives restaurants into the ground. If I want to eat like “back home,” then I’ll eat at home. It’s cheaper. People go to Linh’s because they like the food, and food should always be the first priority. They couldn’t care less “how the business is run,” if they have to wait so long for their table and check that they’re late for work, they won’t come back.

        One way or another, I look forward to my review of the new Linh’s. As I understand, it’s substantially improved with the remodeling.

  1. When Weiner brought up the point about it being done “back home”, I believe that was a reference to way that they do it back in Vietnam. My Vietnamese friends rave about Linh’s Bistro and they are absolutely right. The food is amazing and it is some incredibly fresh Pho. The Nguyen family are great people and deserve all of the the success that they are receiving. I love the hole in the wall places too! Linh’s Bistro is a top notch restaurant in Dayton. Check out our photos on it…!/media/set/?set=a.476682052366831.95478.108187019216338&type=1

  2. Hey Another Boring Food Critic – of course it is cheaper for you to eat at home because you still live with your parents. They call that “failure to launch.” The irony of your blog is mind blowing. Newsflash: People in Dayton don’t give a crap what you think about any restaurant. Stick to being an authority on “how to get a rent-free ride and calling it free lance.”

  3. I read the article and then read about 3 lines of Weiner’s post and he hit the proverbial nail on the head here.

    The writer of this article makes some valid points but at the same time, I think is way off on some assumptions as well. As someone who is a “veteran” of Lihn;s I can tell you that this original location certainly had some deficiencies (as the author noted) but Lihn’s was doing anything but running itself slowly out of business. If you know anything about Lihn’s then you know that you have to get there early, you know it’s organized chaos, and you know that you’re going to be packed in like sardines. Still, this is one of the few places (this location, not the new bistro) that I will actually wait for a table at because I have never been let down by the food. These people had to have been making money hand over fist. This place was PACKED. ALWAYS. And no one outside waiting, seemed to care about the fact that they were outside waiting.

    I have lived in the southwest for many years and had some great cuisine. I lived in Los Angeles and have had exceptional Polynesian, Peruvian, Japanese and Thai food. I’ve eaten at Donald Trump’s National Gold Course and it’s out of this world! Having said all that, maybe a couple of those places, along with the original Lihn’s location are the only places I would ever even contemplate waiting in a line to get in to. It was that good.

    The food was incredible, the service was good, depending on your waitress. Again, depending on your waitress. I wish I could say the same for the newer location, because in my lone experience at the new bistro, it was not very good.

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