ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Many businesses across the country and in New York are struggling, but one beloved local business actually opened a location on Park Avenue in Rochester. “The Chai Guy” opened their first brick and mortar location on last Wednesday.
They even scored the location right next to the future Pittsford Dairy. While “The Chai Guy” originally signed the lease in January, the extra time allowed them to improve the space, and start a partnership, selling baked goods from Amazing Grains.
“It kinda helped us in a weird way,” said Patrick Tharp, a.k.a “The Chai Guy.” “We were able turn to turn this place from an old speedy’s laundromat; convert it from 1970’s to 2020.”
Tharp has been in business for six years, mostly at the public market. Even though during that time he was working full time as a handyman, he sold his product in Rochester, and “from Sodus to Buffalo.”
But what is chai?
“Chai is a spiced tea,” Tharp said. “A lot of times we’ll say ‘chai tea’ because people aren’t really sure what it is, and they’re like ‘chai tea, is that a form of martial arts?’ No, that’s tai chi.”
As for the taste:
“Someone once said it was like Christmas in a cup,” he said.
Tharp prides his product on being authentic to its Indian roots. After all, he fell in love with chai on a trip to India. According to Tharp, other “fast food” coffee shops have a different approach to chai:
“It’s usually a powder or a syrup or a concentrate, it’s terrible… It’s like ‘yuck,'” he said. “We brew our tea all from scratch… It just gives you that warmth and you’re like ‘oh my gosh this is amazing.'”
Tharp says business has been booming. With social distancing and masking protocols, along with constant sanitation, Tharp is able to fulfill his promise:
“I want everyone to have a ‘chai-tastic’ day.”