Cha House, an Asian-inspired tea and snack bar on Franklin Street, is rebranding and changing its name to Tea Hill.
Cha House serves drinks and food influenced by Taiwan, and works directly with farmers and suppliers in Asia. In addition to Chapel Hill, the business has locations in Raleigh and Cary, with new stores opening soon in Greenville, Wake Forest, Myrtle Beach, Miami and Washington, D.C.
Along with the name change, the rebranding includes menu changes and a new website.
Emily Rosario is a supervisor and social media specialist at the Chapel Hill Cha House who has worked there for about four years. She said the location's rebranding is all about fostering a connection with the community.
“We wanted to focus on the local community first, so we thought if we branch away from the franchise a little bit and keep it local within Chapel Hill, it would be better,” Rosario said. “We always want to keep our community at heart, so that’s why we want to work with more community members and try to figure out how we can improve our tea.”
Cha House was founded by Julia Chiu, who was born in rural Taiwan. After living in the countryside, Chiu moved to Taipei, where her parents ran a restaurant called "The Chiu’s Cold Noodles."
Chiu was inspired to open a tea house after watching her parents run their noodle shop and noticing the popularity of boba tea grow over time. When she was 40, Chiu moved to Chapel Hill, where she opened Cha House.
Chiu still sources the tea leaves used at Cha House from Taiwan, according to Tea Hill's website.
Cha House will be keeping all existing menu items and adding a few new ones. New additions include guava tea, pineapple tea, a variety of new matcha selections and dumplings.
Customer Vanessa Valencia said she looks forward to the new menu additions and thinks the rebranding is a good idea.
“I honestly didn’t know they were part of a chain in the first place, but I think incorporating ‘hill’ in the name will definitely help establish a stronger connection with the local community,” Valencia said.
Another customer, Nikky Soni, said she is excited to see how the community reacts to the rebranding. She said she thinks of Cha House as a Chapel Hill staple that has loyal customers.
“I personally will return after the rebrand to see how I like it and I think others will do the same, so the initial launch is gonna be really important for their ultimate success," Soni said. "I hope they keep the wide selection of their menu and the quality of their boba because that’s what I feel like Cha House is known for.”
Soni said that while she does not typically order food at Cha House, she is interested to see what new options the rebranding brings.
Rosario said the physical storefront will still say “Cha House” until the Town of Chapel Hill approves the sign change to “Tea Hill.”
Rosario said despite the name change, the restaurant will remain the establishment customers are familiar with.
“Even though we're rebranding, we’re still keeping the motto of the store the same,” Rosario said. “Our motto is basically just to serve the customers as best we can, and introduce the taste of Taiwan into the local community and share the Taiwanese culture with everybody.”
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