Blown Away by the Savvy of Bubble Me

There’s a new coffee, banh-mi, and bubble-tea shop called Bubble Me in Uptown on Lake Street, a few doors down from Davanni’s, and you know what? The food is pretty good. Strangely, I find the concept for this place the most interesting. It’s killer. Here’s why:

1) They only serve three things: A six-item Thai/Vietnamese menu, Thai Bubble Tea drinks, and Lavazza espresso drinks and coffee.

2) They don’t need a lot of room to do this; there’s no back kitchen or back-of-the house at all. The Uptown location is in a slot I’d have thought best suited to a small greeting card store, which is what I believe it was recently.

3) They don’t need a lot of staff to do this; on my visit, one lone guy filled my whole order.

4) The place is pretty healthy (no fryer, no fries) and quite cheap: $5 gets you a filling, craveable dinner.

5) It’s got all the hang-out requirements to draw the underserved 12–21 year-old market, like hip, parent-repelling Bubble Teas and free Wi-Fi.

6) It’s got Sawatdee recipes, brain power, and money behind it, because it’s a Sawatdee concept.

In short, this place could change the world! Will it? I don’t know. If you go, my favorite dish by far was the $5 green curry banh-mi, a simple chicken-stuffed Vietnamese banh-mi submarine sandwich—the type with the cilantro, jalapeno slices, and so-on, stuffed into a big soft roll, which they serve with a little bowl of green curry sauce to dip the sandwich in. It’s the green curry that makes it; it’s just a little sweet, plenty salty, and a teensy bit hot, all of which unite to turn the otherwise plain sandwich into something sweet and fat and craveable. And it’s kinda huge! About as big as my forearm, and, if paired with a sweet bubble tea, something to completely kill the hunger, albeit temporarily, of a teenage boy. For five bucks.

The coffee I tried was really great too, making this a very welcome addition to any mall near you. And that’s all I have to say. For most readers this is just going to be a tiny lunchcounter that’s most certainly not worth the drive from another neighborhood, but for armchair industry-critics like me, this is definitely one to watch. Managed right, we could be looking at the next big thing.

Bubble Me
1404 W. Lake St., Mpls.