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A look into the Hilltop Campus Village & a new Viet-Thai restaurant in Davenport

Nestled on the edges of Downtown Davenport and the Hilltop Campus Village at 512 Brady Street is Miss Phay Cafe. The Viet-Thai restaurant celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting.
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 11:31 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The Hilltop Campus Village has seen various closures within recent years, however, with the opening of a new restaurant, things could be looking up.

Nestled on the edges of Downtown Davenport and the Hilltop Campus Village at 512 Brady Street is Miss Phay Cafe. The Viet-Thai restaurant celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting on Thursday. The name, Miss Phay, holds cultural significance.

“Miss Phay is a symbol of how immigrants bring the food to the new place and so Miss Phay will serve Thai, Chinatown Thai and Vietnamese food,” said Mun Luangruang, the owner.

Luangruang isn’t a stranger to the restaurant business. She also owns and operates Exotic Thai in Moline and Davenport, as well as LemonGrass Cafe in Moline alongside her brother and father. The new restaurant has been in the works since last summer.

“We want to create an environment that a business wants to be and that will also encourage more traffic and people downtown to, you know, live, work, play, all those kinds of things,” said Jason Gilliland, the Director of Events for the Downtown Davenport Partnership.

The addition is welcomed following many hits the Hilltop area took within the last year, including the loss of Greatest Grains and Mary Sue’s Cafe. The Executive Director of the Hilltop Campus Village, Scott Tunnicliff, said they’re expanding their marketing, businesses are doing upgrades and the area is going into a new chapter.

“There’s a lot of things going on. Donuts and More up here is in the process of doing a major facelift with the new signage and a new interior...The Brewed Book over on Harrison Street is expanding and they’re utilizing a grant that we were able to apply for on their behalf...Main Street Coffee is doing a terrific business,” Tunnicliff said, “We’re in a state of transition, again, because you’ve got a lot of buildings that are going to creatively reused.”

He said some exciting things are coming, hopefully within the next few months.

“It’s neat to combine that with all the stuff that is going on. Miss Phay’s is a big deal. The Mexican restaurant is going to be a big deal, Donut’s and More, the urban gardens, Brewed Book. We got a lot of stuff that’s percolating now, and a lot of stuff that’s just simmering on the stove,” he said.

As for Miss Phay, the new restaurant is standing true to the symbol perseverance. A symbol of sharing Southeast Asian culture, values, and cuisine amid challenges.

“When she comes to the new place she might be in struggle with something. She might have to adjust herself for the new things in a different country. The same with our life nowadays. We have to adjust ourselves with a new normal, you know, to live day by day,” Luangruang said, “We will not let [the] pandemic stop us from being happy and to enjoy our life and I believe Miss Phay food can provide the people happiness and still enjoy our life.”

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 AM to 3 PM and 5 PM to 9 PM, and on Sundays from 10 AM to 3 PM.

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