Houston Restaurateur Brings Korean Coffeehouse to the Galleria
Jason Cho, a Houston native and the restaurateur behind Dak & Bop, has opened the Bayou City’s second location of Tom N Toms, a Korean-based coffee house franchise. Located at 5353 West Alabama, this new outpost is in the same shopping center as Hidden Omakase and forthcoming new locations of Conservatory food hall and burger-chan.
Houston’s first Tom N Toms is located in the Bellaire Food Street development in Chinatown, but the two locations are individual franchises, each with separate owners. The Galleria location is only the third in Texas, and ninth in the U.S. (The other locations are in Carrollton, TX, which is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, California and Virginia.)
Tom N Toms started in 1999 in Seoul and has since grown to over 500 locations worldwide. Although sometimes called the “Korean version of Starbucks,” the menu offers a much wider range of drinks and dishes than a typical American coffeehouse. Selections include unique takes on coffee and tea, including Sweet Potato Latte and Citron Tea. The food is just as interesting, ranging from the sweet — caramel-drizzled and cinnamon-spiced milk bread — to the savory — soft pretzel bread stuffed with a variety of fillings such as sausage and jalapeño and spicy chicken.
The Galleria location is considered more upscale than the other two Texas locations, granting it “Tom N Toms Black” status and an expanded menu with exclusive dishes such as kimchi and cheese puff pastries, savory egg tarts and bing su (“snow ice”). In addition, Cho plans to hosts pop-ups featuring local Houston chefs as well as chefs from Dak & Bop, who will pair food with Tom N Toms’ beverages.
Tom N Toms is designed as a space for socializing as well as a good workspace with “cozy seating options and accessible outlets.”
“When my vision of this place is fully visualized, people will get to enjoy my take on a truly unique Korean-inspired café,” said Cho via a press release.
Tom N Toms Galleria is currently in its soft-opening phase. For the official grand opening on Saturday, February 20, guests can take advantage of a buy-one-get-one-free special on any of the drinks. To receive the promotion code, follow its Instagram account.
Tom N Toms offers both to-go and dine-in service. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All-day brunch on Saturdays and Sundays is coming soon.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.