Sophie Bolich

SereniTea Coming to Downer Avenue

Boba-focused cafe's third location would end 15-year vacancy at former site of Chancery restaurant.

By - Mar 6th, 2023 04:49 pm
Site of future Serenitea, 2575 N. Downer Ave. Photo taken Sept. 30, 2022 by Jeramey Jannene.

Site of future Serenitea, 2575 N. Downer Ave. Photo taken Sept. 30, 2022 by Jeramey Jannene.

A new location for SereniTea, a cafe specializing in boba tea, is slated to open at 2575 N. Downer Ave., bringing an end to a more than 15-year vacancy at the former site of Chancery restaurant.

SereniTea has two Milwaukee-area locations including a flagship cafe at 1414 W. Wells St., near Marquette University, and another at Bayshore Mall.

Owner Manpreet Singh, a former Marquette student, was just 23 when he opened the first location for SereniTea in 2019.

The proposed third location would build on the cafe’s original concept, offering cocktails and food as well as a variety of bubble teas, according to a license application.

Singh anticipates that 30% of revenue will come from alcohol sales, with the remaining 70% from food sales.

At its existing cafes, SereniTea serves a wide variety of fruit teas such as watermelon green and honeydew jasmine; milk teas including lavender, taro and avocado flavors; smoothies and ice cream shakes, as well as seasonal slushies and flavored lemonade. Most of the nearly 50 beverage options are available with boba toppings including bursting mango, lychee jelly, coconut jelly, bursting passionfruit and more.

The new cafe is slated to open within The Downer Avenue Retail Collection, a block-long complex composed of two buildings that house Boswell Book Company, the Downer Theatre, Starbucks, GoodLand Home & Goods and the soon-to-be former site of Pizza Man, among others.

The SereniTea space was most recently the site of Chancery, which closed in 2007. The Downer Avenue restaurant was one of several now-closed locations for the chain throughout the area.

An affiliate of Seattle-based Bridge33 Capital acquired the buildings for $11.25 million in March of 2020, Urban Milwaukee previously reported. In 2021, the company applied for permits to convert the building’s upper floor, formerly office space, to residential apartments.

Pending Common Council approval, Singh anticipates opening the new cafe in late summer or early fall. His lease for the space began in January of 2023 and he is guaranteed occupancy for the next five years.

Singh is planning to remodel the space. A start date for the remodeling is still undetermined, according to the license application.

Proposed hours for the cafe are Monday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to the license application.

Singh did not respond to a request for comment.

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