What’s New in Town
KUNG FU TEA
This weekend, the hip teashop chain Kung Fu Tea makes a grand splash on State Street. Having quietly opened its doors earlier this week, the store that people call “the Starbucks of bubble tea” is offering a two-for-the-price-of-one deal on its most popular drinks, including its fragrant iced milk tea, lemonades, and the tapioca-laden bubble tea. From its beginnings in Flushing, Queens in New York, Kung Fu Tea has expanded across the United States, Canada, Australia, and Vietnam. Their latest store on State Street features a huge seating area with sturdy tables and a selection of table games like Jenga for people who want to hunker down over a nice cool drink and make a night of it.
Kung Fu Tea, 8 E. State St, Media, PA 19063. Open 11am-11pm every day; Friday and Saturday hours extend to midnight.
Nick Jensen doesn’t look like a man with a newborn and a toddler at home. He’s revving around his new business, Gangster Vegan Organics on Media’s State Street, like a man with boundless stores of energy and enthusiasm. And he puts it down to walking the walk, not just selling the goods. Nick’s secret? “Gym, eating vegan, and intermittent fasting,” he told us.And there’s no shortage of good vegan eats in his new place. Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free organic smoothies, bowls, burgers, and salads pack the new menu—which you need to snap with your cellphone camera because the company is dedicated to sustainability, so they don’t hand out paper menus or receipts. If the torrent of positive reviews is anything to go by, this colorful and vibrant new food experience is going to make a big impact.
Nick’s business is the third Gangster Vegan Organics restaurant in the Philly suburbs—the ones in Norristown and Phoenixville are run by his friends Miguel and Vinnie, who gave Nick their blessing to bring the brand to Media. The three businessmen aim to make people think twice about the words “gangster” and “vegan,” two words that don’t seem to belong together at first glance. The dining room has custom-painted tables featuring pictures of well-know rappers and colorful graffiti. With his second child on the way, Delco resident Nick had planned to strike out as a vegan coach, but he heard that the storefront at 14 West State Street might be available, so he cold-called the owner of the building, and his plans took a sharp turn.
Now he and his general manager Justin cold-press all the juices and prepare all the dishes in-store every day. For now, Media’s Gangster Vegan Organics serves the same organic vegan fare as the sister restaurants, but Nick is already has plans to widen the menu (quinoa sushi, anyone?). If the new menu items taste anywhere near as good as the walnut based vegan taco meat, we are in for a great taste experience.
Gangster Vegan Organics, open 9-7 daily (Sunday 11-7). 14 W E State St, Media, PA 19063. (484) 445-2978
OCEAN CITY COFFEE
Most people come back from the shore with a suntan, a fridge magnet, and happy memories. Lauri Watkins isn’t most people. She came back from Ocean City, NJ, with the plan for Media’s newest coffee shop, Ocean City Coffee. And she had the drive and know-how to make it happen. She is the managing partner of the State Street location that opened its doors last month. Since then, the store has been catering to so many coffee connoisseurs that they have to take three deliveries of freshly roasted blends every week.
It took a lot of work to make the storefront on State Street into the elegant and bustling venue it is today. Lauri and her husband and in-laws gutted the premises down to the studs, plumbed it to provide commercial kitchen service, and rebuilt the interior with a view to providing a clean and welcoming facility to cater to consumers of coffee, pastries, and freshly cooked breakfast food.
The shelves in the store are packed with more than 80 freshly roasted blends of coffee, including a signature Media Blend for the new location. There are also more than 30 blends of tea, and floor-to-ceiling shelves of Ocean City merchandise, including apparel and stylish hand-thrown American-made ceramic mugs.
Lauri and her family did their research before opening on State Street. They spent summers at the Jersey shore soaking up the more than the sun: They got to know the three Ocean City Coffee shops, learned what made their business tick, and most importantly, won the trust of the owners, Joan Williamson and Cal Carvaia.
So when Lauri and her family pitched the idea of bringing Ocean City Coffee to Media, Joan and Cal embraced the idea. “They just liked us,” Lauri said, “They had a good feeling about it.” More than that, the home office knew that Delaware County wanted their goods—a fifth of Ocean City Coffee’s mail order business comes from Delco.
So on those nice sunny days when you can’t get to the shore, you can still perk up you palate with a fresh coffee—and you can even enjoy it in the fresh air, on the patio seating at the store’s rear entrance on Baker Street. Don’t forget your sunblock!
Ocean City Coffee, 34 W State St, Media, PA 19063. Open 6:30-7 every day, serving breakfast and lunch with extended hours till 9pm Friday and Saturday.. Look for them at Dining Under the Stars every Wednesday May thru September