ViVi Bubble Tea location near Baruch closes for lack of permit

Caryl Anne Francia, Business Editor

The ViVi Bubble Tea location across from Baruch College’s 24th Street entrance shut down following an order by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

According to a notice posted by the department’s division of environmental health, the tea shop located at 50 Lexington Ave. was “closed by the order of the commissioner of health and mental hygiene for operating without a permit.”

The notice was posted on the shop’s door from the inside and signed by a health inspector on Feb. 14. It also cited city health codes, which prohibited anyone from violating the order removing the notice unless authorized by the department.

Another notice posted on the door came from the Civil Court of the City of New York and was signed by New York City Marshal Justin Grossman on March 21.

Gramercy North Associates, the building’s landlord, petitioned against the shop’s owners and tenants, Yuan Qiu Qiu Inc. and XYZ Corp. A user by the name “Qiuqiu Yuan” happened to post a five-star review of the location in October 2022.

Caryl Anne Francia

Reviews of the business were mixed regarding opinions on how the store operated. Karen Wong, a junior at Baruch, said she wasn’t aware the store operated without a permit until she saw the notices, but it was also not something that surprised her.

“Vivi wasn’t really a place I went to often because their prices are quite high and it’s typically very packed,” she said.

According to information published by Data Axle Reference Solutions, the shop recorded a consistent sales volume of $671,000 for every year since 2020. The shop also employed five workers consistently since its opening in summer 2019.

In a one-star review of the location, customer Yunjie Huang wrote that the staff had a “bad attitude towards the customers” and only a single employee working at the counter. In the same review from August 2022, she said that the taste of the taro milk tea was “really bad.”

On the other hand, Adonis Julio said that the business was “outstanding.”

“I’ve never been disappointed with the quality of the tea,” the Baruch senior said. “It was always a reliable drink to get after a long day of class.”

Caryl Anne Francia

Wong said that given the shop’s staffing issues, its conditions were not the best. As for health concerns, neither she nor her friend particularly cared. But she mentioned her friend was disappointed that she can no longer buy chicken from there.

“A lot of people go there to just grab a quick snack,” Wong said. “There have been a few times last week where I wished they were still there, when I was at a loss of what I should eat.”

The shop no longer accepts orders through GrubHub. On March 29, the store’s page on DoorDash said it is temporarily closed, but its profile on Google Maps said it is permanently closed.

The ViVi location across from Baruch opened in place of a convenience store. Another location by the intersection of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue remains open.

Employees who worked at the store could not be reached for comment.