ROGERS PARK — There’s bubble tea now flowing in Rogers Park.
Tai Chi Bubble Tea, 6800 N. Sheridan Rd., had a soft opening last week. On Friday, the new location will have its grand opening. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 8 all customers will get 15 percent off their purchase.
Jessie Li, 32, is helping to manage the new store while it gets up and running. She currently manages a location in Rochester, New York.
“Tea culture in China has been around for centuries,” she said. “We are excited to bring it to Chicago.”
Li, who was born in China, said she loves Bubble Tea, but what she really loves is how Bubble Tea culture can bring people together.
Tai Chi Bubble Tea will have board games along with music. Li said customers will be able to request songs, in hopes of having people stick around longer.
“We want this to be a place where friends and family can create lasting memories,” she said.
The restaurant will also serve up other Asian dishes. Li said when they first started offering food in their New York locations, it was just snacks. But now, Rogers Park can expect sushi burritos, rice bowls and Japanese ramen.
This is Tai Chi Bubble Tea’s first crack at the Chicago market, but Li said they plan on opening a second location “somewhere near Downtown” soon.
Li said it is important to the store to become “part of the community.” They have hired mostly Loyola students and plan to target that market. But Li said they also want to attract Rogers Park residents, who are known for their fiercely loyal patronage when restaurants fit the neighborhood.
Another way Tai Chi Bubble Tea nabs repeat customers is by offering a rewards program. Customers can save up enough points for discounted food items or free drinks.
“We love bringing this awesome Bubble Tea culture to new cities,” she said.
So far, Li said the soft opening has been more successful than they anticipated, with some customers returning two and three times. She said she is hopeful that the grand opening will bring in new customers who, hopefully, will soon become regulars.
“Seeing return customers this early is definitely a great start,” she said.
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