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Ivan Laurel, a barista at Boba-loompia!, a restaurant and tea room that serves Asian fusion and Filipino food in the Broadway Square Mall, delivers food to customers during a busy Saturday.

Most malls in America suffer down time in February, however the Broadway Square Mall in Tyler was extremely busy Saturday.

And thanks to the grand opening of Boba-Loompia! on Saturday, for most of the day, 45 to 55 people filled the large eating area outside the restaurant and tea room. Boba-Loompia! serves Asian fusion and Filipino food, and relocated to Broadway Square Mall from its former location near the University of Texas at Tyler campus. They recently opened in a 1,236 square foot section in the south concourse across from Finish Line near the new Dick’s Sporting Goods, which will be opening soon.

The opening is part of a multi-million dollar expansion of the 45-acre retail center at South Broadway and Loop 323.

Vanessa Tirado, an assistant manager, said, “It’s bigger over here, it’s been busy the whole time. It was scary at first with so many people coming in and long lines going all the way around the corner, but we’re getting the hang of it.”

With Chef Carlos Herrera cooking up the dishes, the patrons did not mind the lines and wait for the food and drinks. The top sellers were the crispy pata (deep fried pork leg with tender meat, crispy skin with a side of rice) as well as the fresh lumpia (egg crepe filled with vegetables and a choice of chicken, pork or tofu). The popular drinks were the different teas, mango smoothies and for all drinks, adding the honey bobas.

In addition to the menu, they also cater.

“We have catering dishes on the menu and we also have other options,” said Tirado.

Boba-Loompia has a website with the menu at bobaloompia.com and they can be reached at 903-630-7337.

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John is a two-time national columnist of the year. He has earned top AP awards for news, videos and sports writing and won the Thomas J. Bulson Investigative Journalism award. He has appeared on CNBC's American Greed, FOX News and CNN.

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