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A daughter’s push for a boba shop started it all

TemptAsians plans to move its Chippewa Falls store to new location this summer

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January 22, 2024

WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN – As John Tran reflects on the growth his restaurant, TemptAsians, has seen over the past two-plus years, he said he has his daughter, Lynn, to thank.

“My daughter was the inspiration to start everything,” he said. “I didn’t even want to start a restaurant – I wasn’t looking for it.”

But, when Tran and his daughter came across a vacant shop available for purchase at 504 N. Bridge St. in Chippewa Falls, he said her encouragement gave him the nudge he needed to take a leap into the food service industry.

“My daughter, who was 11 years old at the time, was the one that said to me, ‘let’s open a boba shop,’” he said. “I glazed over it the first couple of weeks, and then we made a more serious effort to look at it.”

Once Tran and his sister, Tiffany, decided to purchase the building and open the restaurant, he said Lynn continued to be the “driving force” to get it all started.

“She was a part of the decorating and remodeling, and fixing up the Chippewa (Falls) store,” he said. “She was a big part of (coming up with) the recipes and what we were going to serve at the restaurant.”

Tran said TemptAsians offers “your traditional Vietnamese items,” such as boba tea and báhn m” – a sandwich made up of meats, such as chả lụa (Vietnamese sausage), cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro and condiments, such as pâté or mayonnaise, served in a thin, crisp baguette.

Boba teas, he said, can be customized in a variety of ways, from choosing the kind of bubble tea base and flavor to the kind of boba or jellies added.

Starting at Chippewa Falls, growing to Eau Claire

When TemptAsians’ original location first opened, Tran said “it was a father-daughter dream team for a little while.”

“For the first two years of us functioning in Chippewa (Falls), most of the days it was her and I who were working,” he said. “She would be manning the register and making the teas while I was… doing all the cooking in the back.”

TemptAsians’ first location, Tran said, provided a great starting point, and though it didn’t allow for year-round operations, its customer base continued to grow.

“We outgrew the building,” he said. “The shop was a tiny little shack of a building – it was less than 350 square feet. We were trying to execute too many menu items and take care of too many people out of a tiny little building.”

Tran said when he found the space at 2823 E. Hamilton Ave. in Eau Claire – now home to TemptAsians’ second location – he knew it would make a great fit for a full-service, sit-down restaurant.

While the TemptAsians team prepared for the new location, which opened in August of last year, the owner said the Chippewa Falls location remained closed until September to allow the Eau Claire store to have the team’s full attention.

Since its opening, Tran said the customer response has been good, and the restaurant is already in the process of expanding its offerings – something he said he would not have been able to do at the original Chippewa Falls shop.

“We’ll be starting to serve alcohol here in the next couple of weeks,” he said. “We recently received our liquor license, so we’re on the move.”

And TemptAsians grows again

Soon after Tran opened TemptAsians in Eau Claire, he said he was presented with an opportunity for the Chippewa Falls location that would allow the restaurant to remain open year-round.

The Wisconsin Farmers Union – an organization aimed at enhancing the quality of life for family farmers and rural communities – has been in the process of remodeling a 120-year-old, three-stories-tall brick building in downtown Chippewa Falls (128 W. River St.), named Market on River.

The second floor will serve as an office and headquarters for the organization, and the third floor will be turned into apartments.

And the first floor of the building, Tran said, will eventually house the new TemptAsians’ Chippewa Falls location, along with 13 other small businesses in the area.

“Every year toward the winter season, all of our customers start getting sad and asking when we’re going to close up (for the year) and things like that,” he said. “With this new location at Market on River, that shouldn’t be an issue. We should be able to operate year-round, and then in the summertime, it’ll be awesome to be right across the river.”

The renovations for the building are expected to be done by summer this year, and Tran said once those are completed, the TemptAsians Chippewa Falls location will shift from the original location to the new one.

Tran said the Chippewa Falls current location on North Bridge Street will re-open in the spring until that time.

“I’m most looking forward to seeing all of my regular Chippewa (Falls) customers again,” he said. “I miss the Chippewa .(Falls) folks – (they) gave us our beginning and loyalty and their business and support from day one.”

Future plans

As Tran looks to the future of TemptAsians – as of right now – he said “there are no plans to grow any more than the two current locations.”

“Maybe in a year, when things are running smoothly, and (we have gotten through) all the headaches and all the growing pains – maybe (then) we will think about a third location,” he said. “But… I don’t know how realistic it is.”

This, Tran said, is partly due to providing the best service possible for TemptAsians customers, and, right now, the staff is already “putting our heart and souls into both locations.”

At this point, he said, the focus is on the continued success of the Eau Claire location and the anticipated relocation of the Chippewa Falls location later this year.

To keep up to date on TemptAsians’, check out its Facebook page.

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