With a milk tea shop around every corner, it’s hard to imagine yet another boba restaurant thriving in this competitive industry. Despite the rivalry, we think BOBO Drinks has what it takes to become the next big thing to hit Berkeley’s drink scene.
BOBO Drinks, located at 2032 Shattuck Ave., is a short walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station. Upon walking into the restaurant, we were immediately greeted with smiles from the staff, and the brightly colored walls and seat cushions created a happy, easygoing atmosphere. Although the line extended to at least eight people, we placed our order and received our drinks within five minutes. Co-manager Joe Thet’s goal is to serve drinks within one to three minutes upon ordering — and so far, he seems to be achieving his goal.
Looking around the store, customers were happily chatting, studying or just relaxing. Overall, people seemed content with their orders. In order to set BOBO Drinks apart from its competitors, Thet states that he wants to create a restaurant that serves not only refreshing drinks but also a refreshing atmosphere so that customers can feel comfortable studying for hours there. Competitors have small walk-in stores with limited seating that may make it seem uninviting, while BOBO Drinks offers free Wi-Fi and a welcoming atmosphere perfect for study groups.
We certainly felt the vibe that Thet was going for when we sipped on the sweet pom pom jar made with pomegranate, peach, basil seeds and tea. The BOBO special teas, priced at $4.95 a jar, are definitely something to try if you’re looking for a refreshingly sweet drink — it contained the perfect mixture of tea and fruit, and the diced basil seeds created an added complexity that made the tea fun to drink. It is clear that presentation is important at this restaurant. The mason jars made the drinks seem even more bright and invigorating than they already were. The drink contained chopped fresh fruit that added a sweet and crisp taste to each sip, and overall, this is definitely a drink that we will be coming back for. The very berry jar, containing strawberry, lychee, basil seeds and lychee jelly, is also one of Bobo Drinks’ most popular items and is on our bucket list for things to try here.
Although the food took longer to come out, it was well worth the wait. We ordered the strawberry kutie crepe, normally $6.75, which contained strawberries, kiwi, Nutella and whip cream. The plate was drizzled in strawberry- and kiwi-flavored syrup, which complemented the crepe filling well and made the plate look very appetizing and bright. Bobo Drinks is definitely very generous with its fresh fruit, as there was not only fruit lining the outside of the crepe, but there was also a generous amount inside with the Nutella. It was the perfect ratio, and the crepe was big enough to be a satisfying meal.
Despite its name, BOBO Drinks offers more than just drinks. It has a menu of more than a hundred different items featuring food with different Asian and European inspirations. The owner of the franchise is actually famous Vietnamese singer Dan Truong, and through his international performances, he has perfected the menu with foods inspired by countries all over the world. BOBO Drinks offers Taiwanese shaved ice, Vietnamese-inspired entrees and desserts and a variety of java drinks for those students who need to stay awake.
Although prices may be on the steep end for college students, BOBO Drinks is currently offering a 20 percent discount on all of its items as an opening special. That means, right now, milk tea is only $2.36, crepes are $5.40, and special fruit teas are $3.96 — deals that are certainly worth the money. After this 20-percent-off period ends, there will be a student discount implemented, but the discount amount has not been determined yet. BOBO Drinks is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., so we suggest skipping the coffee shop just once to spend the day at BOBO Drinks.
Image Sources: Debbie Zheng, Michelle Kim
Contact Debbie Zheng at [email protected].