2601 Hennepin Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN
The Tea Garden
Okay, you’ve got to be really old to remember that song. Or maybe you just have to be really old to want to remember that song. And the story behind the song has nothing to do with this restaurant. But if you visit The Tea Garden, their specialty is tiny bubbles. In the tea, that is. Bubble tea in just about any flavor imaginable. And, man, is it good!
My first experience with bubble tea was in Chinatown in San Francisco. My new wife and I were wandering the streets of Chinatown on our honeymoon and saw a sign for Bubble Tea. Well, anything called bubble tea has to be tried, right? We both had one and the experience never left me. I was also afraid I would never have it again unless I returned to Chinatown. Now I can have it anytime I want at The Tea Garden. The “bubbles” are actually tapioca pearls that swim in the bottom of the glass. With a large straw, you suck them up to add texture to your drink. And if you would like to experience a different texture, The Tea Garden offers “jellies,” little chewy bits of flavor ranging from lychee to mango to coffee. My favorite drink is now the Royal Tea Latte with coffee jellies. I highly recommend it to first timers.
There is a huge selection of drinks available at The Tea Garden. They offer classic black or green tea for traditionalists, tea latte, fruit iced-tea latte, or 22 different flavored teas. The back of the menu offers the non-tea drinks. This includes 36 different flavors of coolers and 38 assorted shakes. Believe me, if you can’t find a flavor in this selection that absolutely intrigues you, your taste buds are terminal!
The Tea Garden is also a healthy place to hang out. The latte drinks are all non-dairy, only fructose - fruit sugar - is used to sweeten drinks, and there is no smoking. All drinks are made to order and they cater to diabetics who can’t take sugar. They also offer a selection of bakery goods to go with your drink and there is outdoor seating in the summer. The Tea Garden is open Sunday through Thursday from 11am until 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am until 1am. On Friday and Saturday nights they have a DJ who plays house, down-tempo, and jazz. Sunday night is open mike. And one more thing. They heat seal the carry out drinks so they are no-spill! Fabulous! The Tea Garden is at 2601 Hennepin Avenue S. in Minneapolis. (612) 377-1700.
Submitted by Robert W. McClain