O-CHA tea bar is now back open for business from noon to 8 p.m. in its spot at 300 River St. overlooking Falls Park.
The shop’s cafe will remain closed, however, with no indoor seating, which will allow the shop instead to focus on adding new flavors to its flavored ice teas and bubble teas, with numerous fresh fruit options to appeal to the warmer weather.
Also on the menu will be a larger offering of 125 different loose teas for people to brew at home.
The tea shop had originally closed its doors back in March of last year after COVID-19 lockdowns were put in place. After temporally opening in October of 2020, the tea shop’s owner Mallie Majarais decided to close down again after Christmas.
Majarais said the post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases was one factor in the decision to shut down. One of her employees tested positive, while another was possibly exposed by a family member. With such a small staff working in such close quarters, coupled with the typical dip in sales that occurs in the first few months of the new year, Majarais said she decided it was best to wait things out until spring.
“That was also right at the time unemployment started back up, and seeing as it’s always an incredibly slow time after Christmas anyway, I thought I would just give my employees a chance to go back on unemployment until things became safer all around,” she said.
Jump ahead to the arrival of spring and O-CHA tea bar is reopen with an expanded drink menu and loose tea offerings, with the shop itself refocusing as a fully grab-and-go style establishment.
Majarais said the shop was already steering toward going drinks-only with loose-tea options anyway, given the slim profit margins on food.
“It didn’t really make sense for me to make a giant batch of pasta salad and throw it away in two days,” she said.
The move to eschew food options might not be permanent, however.
“We may lean back into the summer putting muffins, cookies, pastries and other grab-and-go items, but it might be a little while before that happens,” Majarais said. “For now, we’re just glad to be back open for people to enjoy as they visit Falls Park.”