Six months after opening the first Tai Chi Bubble Tea eatery on Gunbarrel Road, the local franchisee for the Japanese-style restaurant chain has opened a second local unit downtown.
The new restaurant, located at 411 Broad Street where a Penn Station East Coast Subs restaurant operated until last year, features a variety of fresh options such as bubble tea, ramen, and poke bowls for both take out and for those eating in the 60-seat storefront.
Hannah Farley, manager of the downtown Tai Chi Bubble Tea, said interest was so strong at the first unit in East Brainerd that franchise owner Duncan Ye decided to add another restaurant downtown.
"We offer a healthy alternative to typical fast food and we've had a lot of people asking for us to open another unit downtown," Farley said. "We've had a strong initial response to this concept."
The restaurant menu includes poke bowls, a traditional Hawaiian dish that allows customers to customize the protein items they want with each bowl, and a variety of Bubble teas, which is a Taiwanese drink that was invented in Taichung in the 1980s and is sometimes known as pearl milk tea, boba milk tea, or simply boba. The typical ramen meal is $11.99 and sushi salad bars start at $8.99.
"We have a menu that allows you to fill out exactly what you want for your protein and vegetables," Farley said. "Our restaurant offers quick service, where customers order at the counter, and are given buzzers to receive their food."
The new eatery is offering an introductory promotion for a free small drink with the purchase of food, Farley said.
The downtown Tai Chi Bubble Tea currently has a 10-person staff and is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Ye said he opened the first restaurant in New York a year ago and expanded to Chattanooga last December. Ye said he plans to expand to Nashville as well.
"Our food is fresh and healthy," he said.
James Weng, a 10-year Sushi cook, is the new cook at the downtown restaurant and said Tai Chi's Japanese ramen soup is prepared fresh every other day and takes seven hours to cook.
The chain began in Rochester, New York and will have 10 units across the country by the end of this year.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 757-6340.