There is at least one entrepreneur who believes that peace and tranquility can be found in Old Town Chinatown.
Eric Arthur will open Taiji Teahouse & Cafe at 310 NW Davis St. on Friday, Aug. 18. In doing so, he’ll have some big shoes to fill—the space used to house Pearl Zhang’s Red Robe Tea House, which WW praised for years for serving “one of the finest Chinese pots of tea on either side of the river.” Zhang was also known for hosting an exceptional and detailed gongfu tea ritual.
Zhang retired in 2021, but before she did, Arthur broadened his knowledge of gongfu tea through her and the shop—and he’s essentially reviving the essence that she brought to the establishment. He also brings more than two decades of restaurant industry experience to this new role—but his interest in food goes back further than that. Many of the Asian-fusion items that will be served at Taiji come from his Chinese Filipino grandmother’s cookbook—dishes he ate as a child in Hawaii.
The opening day menu includes an array of multicultural delights, including Korean fried chicken with a soy gochujang, wonton tacos with your choice of filling (barbecue chicken or mushroom), a cucumber salad dressed in a miso vinaigrette, and edamame to snack on. Arthur says the specialty will be his cold ginger chicken, which is poached, chilled and then topped with a zingy ginger herb sauce. Meanwhile, the tea offerings have been selected by Kevin Von Buren of Fly Awake Tea House on North Beech Street.
Taiji will offer lunch service before transforming into a quieter tea den, though at times the space plans to host everything from Argentine tango lessons to sessions for those who practice tai chi.
“The goal is not just to create a teahouse,” Arthur stated in a press release, “but to create a space where the community feels nourished, both physically and spiritually.”
Hours will be 11 am to 4 pm Monday through Saturday.