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Feb 29, 2012 03:48 PM

Boba Link Opens In Temple City--When Will The Madness End?

From what I can tell, the demand for boba joints in the San Gabriel Valley is nearly insatiable. For example, Honey Boba, which opened in Arcadia last summer and which I don't think has been mentioned on this board, already has over 230 Yelp reviews. And I presume like a lot of the other places it's probably impenetrable on Saturday nights. So we welcome the latest addition to the crowd, Boba Link on Las Tunas Dr. Interestingly when I went in today towards the end of lunch, there were only old people like me there. Of course, the kids were probably still in school, but then maybe it's so expensive here that the kids can't afford it. I mean regular slushes for $4.55 and $5.75 for a fruity yogurt slush? Oh yeah, there's a one drink minimum, so my guess the higher prices are imposed in lieu of a cover charge. Street address is 9566 Las Tunas Dr.

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  1. No more expensive than a specialty drink at Starbucks.

    I think the margins on boba is even higher than for coffee.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Yes, but many of us Chinese are too cheap to pay Starbucks prices. (For the uninitiated , you can count all of the Starbucks locations between Monterey Park and Rowland Heights using just your fingers.)

      1. re: Chandavkl

        Not true.

        Just between Monterey Park and Alhambra alone, there are at least 25+ Starbucks according to their own website store locator.

        So, unless, you've got digits like a centipede has legs ...

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Hmmm.. Google Maps only came up with 10 between Monterey Park and Rowland Heights. I better cancel my subscription.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            Mainland Chinese people are willing to pay premium for Starbucks since it gives them face. It's us cheapo Cantonese speakers who refuse to drink it by the majority but young asian people overwhelming frequent most Starbucks I see.

            Also I give Boba Link 6 months to close just looking at how it's run I don't think it will last . Also DO NOT GET THEIR HK Style Waffle... it was so badly overcooked that I left somewhat angry.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Using the store locator map, I get:

            San Gabriel: 0
            Monterey Park: 1 (near the border with ELA)
            Alhambra: 5
            Rosemead: 2
            Arcadia: 4
            Temple City: 1
            Hacienda Heights: 2
            Rowland Heights: 4

            By contrast:

            Pasadena: 19 (!)

            1. re: Peripatetic

              # of Starbucks = 1 / # of Boba Stores

      2. Madness? It's $3 for a social experience for the underage. Better SGV biz gets it than say.. Kogi's? And it's no nuttier than the gastropubs blowing up on the Westside:

        Have you tried Factory Tear Bar's boba? I don't know WTF they're doing to those black balls, but they're seriously tasty.

        5 Replies
        1. re: TonyC

          $3? Maybe for the lower end non social experience places but the prices have been trending upward.

          I blame Half & Half but now we have plenty of premium $5 places like Why Thirsty, Honey Boba, the new Tea Station in Temple City, Boba Link, etc...

          1. re: TonyC

            Agree with TonyC -- the prices include rent for a seat/table in a pleasant social setting.

            1. re: Peripatetic

              The prices include rent for a seat/table in a pleasant social other words, sort of like what Starbucks and Coffee Bean attempt for white folk.

              The more the merrier. As Chandavkl wrote, I've found all tea bars impenetrable on recent Saturday nights. That wasn't (usually) the case even last Summer, let alone last Winter. Reminds me that I need to work on a tea bar spread sheet (best value, best quality, wi-fi access, etc.).

              1. re: JThur01

                Sounds a whole lot like the function of coffee shops in Tokyo until the serious entry of chains from about ten years ago, which pushed out a whole lot of the independent owner-operators. With chains things aren't as pleasant and comfortable.

            2. re: TonyC

              I think their boba are a little sweet for my taste, but they certainly have the social experience part of the equation down. Whenever I go, it's packed with high school kids that all seem to know each other. There also always seems to be a pack of high school thugs smoking outside.