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Bobar Cafe plans to open a second location, on a yet-to-be-determined date, in late March. Their new site, in the Elk Grove Town Center, will continue to serve the items made popular on the original menu. Headlining a predominantly liquid menu will be boba drinks or bubble tea.
Co-owner Christina Bao told What Now Chicago during a recent phone call that “a couple of packaged snacks, like cookies” will be in the house for purchase to pair with your drink. But, Bao insisted, bubble tea is the draw.
Boba is the slang term for the dots of tapioca found in bubble tea, a smoothie-like treat of a drink originally from Taiwan. There, according to Food & Wine Magazine, boba drinks took off “in the late ’80s”, with debatable origins. No one, it seems, has a firm answer for who specifically were the first culinary entrepreneurs to plop the drops of tapioca in the dessert-like bubble tea. Bao and her husband and co-owner Zhe Bao do that plenty at Bobar Cafe. They also, according to Mrs. Bao, have a smooth operating system:
“He is very good with the financial side, and I do the creative things,” Christine Bao said on a recent phone call. “For example, the name is a pun!” (Boba Bar: truncated on down to the catchier, more unique Bobar.)
Still, opening a second store came with requisite challenges. Mrs. Bao told What Now Chicago: a “whole lot of work” needed to be done upon securing their second spot, a space in Elk Town Grove Center, a former bank. The space had been vacant for three years but, with aim at opening day about a month away, Mrs. Bao noted that all major plumbing and electrical work has been completed, but there are still some inspections to pass before a firm opening is announced.
The new, impending Bobar Cafe location won’t have quite the space as the original, in Strawberry Hill plaza, but Christine Bao told us that’s no big deal because “I don’t think people will stay that long. It should be more of a ‘grab and go’ place” as folks head off, with a tea treat in tow, to nearby attractions such as: Splash park, picnics and concerts in the park or maybe even the library.