After decades without, Dallas proper is finally going to get boba, the trendy tea with chewy tapioca "pearls." Bobaddiction, the tea-themed food truck, is opening in Deep Ellum, taking over the space previously occupied by Monkey King Banana Stand, the dessert shop whose goods are now for sale at sibling concept Monkey King Noodle Co.
Bobaddiction was founded in 2013 by Randy Hu and two friends who launched their food truck to bring an authentic boba tea option to Uptown and downtown Dallas. The truck also serves the Taiwanese treat called shaved snow. Fans love the jasmine milk tea and passionfruit green tea, and the creamy shaved snow, delicately shaven into layers of snow-like ribbons and covered with fresh fruits and condensed milk.
Hu, who now runs the operation on his own, says that he was sharing a kitchen, storage, and parking space with 20-plus other food trucks and simply needed a dedicated spot.
"The Deep Ellum space is absolutely perfect," he says. "It's big enough to be a kitchen and storage, and also has a gated area in the back to park our two food trucks."
He'll use it as the central brew kitchen, making all the drinks and boba for the two trucks, plus their kiosks on SMU, UTD, and UT Arlington campuses. He's also opening an outlet in Frisco in 2018.
Having a Deep Ellum storefront was almost gravy on the potatoes.
"Originally we just planned to have the location as our central brew kitchen and sell a small menu," Hu says. "But business has been great, so we pulled out all the big guns, redesigning the walls, putting up animations on LCDs, and extending the menu to a full-blown drink and dessert shop."
The menu includes signature boba tea flavors from the truck, but he's added several other permanent drink flavors and a tea of the month.
"While the truck only does boba tea, our store is a full-on Asian drink and dessert shop, serving boba teas, fresh fruit shaved-snow desserts, mochi ice cream, ice cream, and pastries," Hu says.
Bobaddiction has been savvy about finding companion revenue streams to fill the gap when people aren't ordering boba tea every day. That includes merchandise such as T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, beanies, and calendars with crafty designs such as their new Chinese Zodiac Animal Series, all sold on Amazon.
Even with a permanent location, he'll still run both trucks regularly, doing birthday, graduation, and wedding events, as well as normal stands at college campuses. "We are really proud of our truck, we really do work nonstop, and love our fans," Hu says. "People have even made birthday cakes of our logo and drink! We just want everyone to love boba like we do."