Tucked away along the North Armenia Avenue corridor of ethnic restaurants, and just a few doors down from the venerable Yummy House Chinese restaurant, Got Tea? is right at home as an Asian-style tea house. But it holds its own with a relatively substantial food menu, and a customer base that doesn't rely solely on ethnic niches.
“Actually our customers are not just Asian,” said owner Chung Kuang. “We do have a lot of customers from America, Thailand, China, Vietnam.” In fact, Kuang estimates his customer base is only, “35 percent Asian.”
2202 W Waters Ave.
How complex is your thirst?: Combining Got Tea's main drink categories - milk tea, green tea, fruit juices, ice slushes, and snow twists (creamy ice slushes)- plus all the flavor varieties they're available in, there are over 100 beverages to choose from.
Then there's boba tea: A tea, juice and/or milk beverage with the added novelty of chewy tapioca starch balls, also called “pearls.” “That's the fancy way we drink tea,” said Kuang. “It's very popular around Asian countries and China Towns. This kind of drink was started in Taiwan in 1986. Then it goes to China, Hong Kong, then California.”
Got Tea? got food: squid balls (deep fried squid meat shaped like balls), chicken steak (chicken breast pounded flat, breaded in herbed flour with corn starch, then fried), chicken katsudun: chicken stir fried with eggs, sweet and sour sauce, carrots and onion over rice, steamed or pan fried dumplings, tofu nuggets, tofu basil, chicken curry, chicken basil, and chicken teriyaki.
Road to here: Kuang, 28, moved to Tampa with his father from Taichung, Taiwan, in 2000. He studied at Hillsborough Community College for three years, then dropped to start working so he could send money home to his mother. He worked at a Chinese restaurant at Dale Mabry Highway and Fletcher Avenue for four years before he and a friend from Taiwan opened Got Tea? A few years later Kuang took over the business when his friend moved back to Taiwan.
Why he stayed: “I started my career here, and made some friends, so I decided to stick around a little longer.”
Hours: Noon to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Monday.