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Bubble Tea Is on the Horizon for Old Town

New cafe specializing in the ice tea specialty drink proposed to open on South Washington Street.

Ice-cold and trendy, bubble tea may soon be within Old Town's reach.

Chi Squared has applied to operate a new restaurant, Bubble Tea Café, on South Washington Street.

Bubble Tea Café “will bring something new to Old Town…in a nice warm inviting place for people to come sit and spend some time,” business applicant Jessica Gurney told Patch.

The café would be Gurney’s first venture at a small business. The Alexandria resident said bubble tea is “huge in New York” and she sees a market for it here in Alexandria.

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Gurney, formerly a paralegal, hopes to open the café by July 1 if the commission and council approve it.

City staff is recommending approval of the firm’s special use permit to set up shop at 321 S. Washington St., where the specialty of the house will be bubble tea – small tapioca pearls placed into ice tea with fruit flavoring.

The café also expects to sell baked goods such as cupcakes, cookies as well as ice cream and frozen yogurt. The tapioca pearls will be baked on-site.

The café is proposing to host 16 seats and offer dine-in and takeout service.

Staff supports the applicant’s proposal. “Although residences are located nearby, the small size and limited operational elements of the restaurant appear to make the restaurant a good fit for this area of Old Town,” reads the staff analysis of the Chi Squared proposal.

The café will offer two off-street parking spaces behind the building but is asking for a parking reduction.

Staff supports that request, saying the “parking reduction is further justified given that on-street metered parking spaces, with lower utilization rates compared to spaces around King Street, are available near the proposed restaurant for customers.”

The three restaurants nearby on South Washington are: Trattoria Franco, Society Fair and Firehook Bakery.

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