Bobalicious at 12250 S. Harlem Ave. offers dozens of teas, smoothies and other drink combinations.

Bobalicious at 12250 S. Harlem Ave. offers dozens of teas, smoothies and other drink combinations.

Family-run Bobalicious pops up on Harlem with community focus

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Co-owner Gustavo Godinez prepares a drink at Bobalicious, 12250 S. Harlem Ave. in Palos Heights. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

By Isabella Schreck

Families can bond and kids can have fun at Bobalicious in Palos Heights, according to co-owner Gustavo Godinez.

The cafe, which opened in late November at 12250 S. Harlem Ave., offers dozens of teas, smoothie and other drink combinations. It sells boba toppings and features free popcorn, cotton candy, foosball, air hockey and board games.

“We grew a good friendship with everybody,” said Godinez, who co-owns the bubble tea store with his brother Sergio Godinez and long-time friend Andrew Lindskog. “We just thought we were going to just get customers driving up and down the street. We didn’t expect all this stuff from the community – all the moms and dads and kids came to support us day one, and then they always came back.”

Along with traditional milk teas, Bobalicious sells smoothies, fruit teas, refreshers and non-caffeinated frappes – all in a variety of flavors. Drinks can be customized with chewy boba, popping boba and jelly pieces.

Drink flavors and bobas are imported from Taiwan. The shop also offers whipped cream in six flavors and dairy-free and allergy-safe options.

“We want you to enjoy your drink 100%,” Godinez said.

biz bobalicious1Along with puzzles and other games, the shop also has a chalk wall and an outdoor seating area.

“We built something, in a way, where all the kids can hang out here,” Godinez said. “The kids know that this is a spot to come back to and meet your friends and hang out. They call each other, one person texts another, and then they’re all here. We know them all – everybody’s fun.”

Bobalicious sells chips from around the world in the store’s front section and has a mini grocery store in the back of the building with snacks, drinks, essentials and some international items.

In addition to local school donations, the shop supports two young entrepreneurs by selling one boy’s hand-made items at the cash register and by featuring the other boy’s claw machine, Godinez said. The business does not make a profit from either venture.

Godinez, who is a member of the Palos and Hills chambers of commerce, plans to partner with local baseball fields to give back to young athletes and with local businesses to host a scavenger hunt, among his other giving-back ideas.

He said Bobalicious is not about the money. It’s about growing the community.

“We love it, especially the support,” Godinez said. “I always wanted to be in this area, so it’s good to be here.”

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