By Michael Coughlin Jr.
During the Community Alliance of Mission Hill’s (CAMH) monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18, attendees showed their support for local small businesses by endorsing Boba Me’s newest endeavor – getting a full liquor license.
Boba Me, a boba Tea shop on 1520 Tremont Street that offers a plethora of teas, smoothies, and more, is seeking to shift a bit of its business model. Instead of focusing more on a takeout operation as it does now, Boba Me is looking to shift to a sit-down restaurant environment with more food options and alcoholic beverages.
A healthy majority of residents in attendance – 22 of 27 respondents – voted in favor of the shop going for a full liquor license. In the end, the shop got the support from residents it desired. However, when discussions began, it seemed like a vote might not have happened in the first place.
One of the chief concerns among residents was a feeling of vagueness regarding what Boba Me was striving to turn into if it successfully got a liquor license.
“I would be more comfortable with this if I had a clearer vision of what the business was transitioning into, and it just doesn’t seem really honed,” said CAMH Board Member Maggie Cohn.
To Cohn’s point, others like Deneige Arroyo were questioning why the shop was looking for a liquor license when the future food menu seemed vague. Currently, Boba Me only has two food options on the menu located on the shop’s website.
“Wouldn’t it make sense to present the full menu prior to going after a liquor license? It’s food for thought,” said Arroyo.
In order to dispel some of the confusion Thomas Pham the Owner and Operator of Boba Me explained his vision for the shop’s future.
“As far as the liquor license goes, we’ll still be serving our boba, and we’re going to be doing boba-inspired alcoholic beverages as well. It’s not going to become just a bar or something like that,” said Pham.
“It’s going to transition into more of a sit-down restaurant eventually, but right now, it’s just adding the liquor license to help with sales and things of that nature.”
Pham further explained that initially, Boba Me will begin with an appetizer-style menu to use a kitchen already installed at the shop. These food items include dumplings, Korean fried chicken egg rolls, and more.
Furthermore, cosmetic updates inside the shop will be made, like adding televisions and adding different lights.
Although Pham shed some clarity on where his establishment wants to head with its potential liquor license, there was still trepidation among some about holding the scheduled vote. At one point, there was a real feeling that the vote might be postponed.
However, that feeling changed, especially since several residents voiced their opinion that a decision should be made to support or oppose the shop’s plans right then.
One of the most outspoken residents in favor of having the vote was Eric Alden, who spoke passionately about the topic.
“Folks support our small businesses. Seriously, stop with all these ridiculous stories about drunks falling into the street. We have a dozen places that have liquor licenses, and you do not see this anywhere, anywhere on Mission Hill,” said Alden
“They [Boba Me] have proven to be a good business; they run a clean operation. Get over yourselves, support our small businesses, take the vote, and move on.”
As aforementioned, the vote eventually occurred, and Boba Me got the support it sought and will continue to move forward in its journey to secure a full liquor license.