Forever Yogurt founder Mandy Calara is hoping to do with boba (bubble) tea what he has done with yogurt when Bee & Tea opens in Wicker Park. Calara is planning "aggressive franchising" for the new venture to follow in Forever Yogurt's successful path that has led to 10 current Chicagoland locations.
The location, in the former Yo-Lite space on North Avenue, is about a block away from the original Forever Yogurt.
Boba tea exploded in Taiwan in the 1980s and has become an American favorite in recent years. Bee & Tea's take on the popular drink will feature a base of either tea or milk, a sweetener, and an assortment of 18 tapioca boba toppings and flavors.
In addition to the teas and smoothies, Bee & Tea will also offer an assortment of steamed buns (or "baos") such as BBQ pork, chicken, vegetable, and dessert items. Calara hopes to open by the end of May.
Calara is building out a streamlined storefront to go with his choose-your-own-adventure-style menu. In a statement, Calara says, "I think this can become a fun franchise alternative here in the U.S."
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