The good news just keeps on coming for 7th Street! Last week, we broke the news that the ever-so-popular Halal Guys, which has become a nationally recognized name starting from its humble beginnings as a street cart in NYC, signed a lease to replace the former Brigade LA clothing store near 7th/Olive. And now this week another exciting eatery development is taking place less than two blocks away also on 7th Street.
A new independent boba tea shop called Toastea is coming soon to 7th Street opening adjacent to the Rite Aid store. What makes this particularly exciting for me is the commercial space Toastea will be taking over, which has sat vacant (unactivated) for possibly decades. You might recall we once reported many years ago that it was supposed to become a frozen yogurt shop, but obviously that never happened. Instead, the space just sat empty (again, unactivated) on one of the busiest pedestrian corridors in Los Angeles — for years — until now!
Founded by three USC grads, Toastea signed the lease in May 2016 and started demo and construction on the space just this past Friday. They will be turning the 1,100 square foot space into a modern and inviting hang out spot (see renderings below) that will add to the growing love downtowners have for Taiwanese boba.
“We used to go out to the SGV (San Gabriel Valley) all the time, to places like Half & Half, to get good boba,” said Alice Zhao, one of the co-founders of Toastea I spoke to. “We really want to bring quality whole leaf tea to Downtown LA.”
Toastea will be serving their milk tea with organic Straus milk and will include non-dairy options as well. In addition to tea drinks, Taiwanese-style thick toast, often prepared with sweet custard and toasted, will also be served. However, instead of the 4.5 inch thick “coffin toast” that might usually be served at a Taiwanese boba cafe, Toastea will offer a shorter “downtown friendly” version at only 1.5 inches thick. The bread will be sourced locally from Yamazaki Bakery in Little Tokyo. And now you also know how Toastea got its name.
The three co-founders, Alice Zhao, Amir Ganaba, and Scott Maier, all come from different backgrounds with one common love for tea.
“All three of us come from very different cultures, Chinese, Persian, and Japanese British, and we all love tea,” Zhao said. “We believe tea is such a universally cherished drink that it’s important to get it right.”
Zhao is hoping that they’ll be up and running before the end of the year.
Renderings courtesy of architect firm Hootan & Associates