The newest addition to the Champaign-Urbana baking scene opens Friday, May 1, with Tasty Tart (405 S. Neil St., Suite C, Champaign). We caught up with owner and manager Eric Kuo, whose business will specialize in “preservative-free, additive-free, artificial flavoring-free, artificial coloring-free” tarts. To kick things off for Friday’s opening, Kuo is offering customers a free lemon tart (11 a.m-9 p.m., while supplies last; social distancing will be observed). Check out the menu here.
Q: What’s on the menu? What is your specialty? What is unique?
We have two categories on the menu: tarts and beverages. Beverages are pretty simple, for example, black tea, green tea, milk tea, coffee, and latte. If customers could dine in, both coffee and tea receive free refills.
Obviously, our specialty is our tarts using cookies crusts to bring out better aroma of pastries. In terms of tarts, we have eight flavors currently, namely, chocolate, strawberry, lemon, matcha(green tea), blueberry, mocha, cheese, milk tea. The size of each tart is 2.75-inch (7-cm) in diameter. One of the most unique parts of our tarts is that most of them have two layers which make the taste richer and more delicious. Another uniqueness lies in our huge variety of choices. Most tarts on the market from other restaurants are fruit tarts, while we provide various tarts. Everyone will definitely find their favorites in Tasty Tart. If you are a coffeeholic, our mocha tart will capture your heart for sure.
If I have to choose two specialties among the eight flavors, I will pick lemon tarts and blueberry tarts. Lemon tarts have combined flavors of limes and lemons, both of which have abundant vitamin C. Since lemons tend to be slightly sweet, whereas limes are usually more bitter, they are a perfect match just like peanut butter and jelly. Speaking of blueberry tart, it has always been our “best-seller” and “top-choice” when asking our friends and families to taste and give us suggestions.
Q: What can customers expect from Tasty Tart?
We strive for building a clean restaurant for families and friends that you can enjoy desserts at ease. Therefore, we formulate detailed cleaning procedures for both our dining area and kitchen area as well as checklists for managers’ inspection.
Properly prepared food
Health is the top priority, especially during this pandemic. We wear masks and gloves when handling food. All the workers in Tasty Tart have taken food handler classes, passed the exam, and received the certificate. Each of our partners is well-trained about the knowledge of personal hygienes and proper hand-washing procedures.
Almost all the major credit card companies are accepted in Tasty Tart, for example, VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. When shopping in-store, customers may pay through debit cards, credit cards, contactless credit cards, or Apple Pay. We also take online orders/reservations which decrease customers’ waiting time. (Online order: https://ordertastytart.square.site/)
Contribution to neighborhoods and the public
We are thankful to open our store in Champaign-Urbana and would like to do our best to contribute to the local. Thus, we are providing FREE COFFEE for frontline heroes, such as first responders, law enforcement, doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, & delivery drivers. More events will come up.
What customers can definitely expect from Tasty Tart is our tarts. With the love and care for my families which leads me to start a bakery, I emphasize the quality of ingredients and the taste of our products. The recipes of our tarts were made after countless tries and samples. We insist on making additive-FREE, artificial-coloring-FREE, artificial-flavoring-FREE, and preservative-FREE tarts. Therefore, everyone, even kids can enjoy our desserts without any hesitations or concerns about food safety.
We believe that besides nice food, excellent service is also very important for a company to keep thriving. Every worker has gone through complete customer service training and does one’s best to satisfy consumers’ needs and expectations.
Q: How did you pick the name of the business?
Well … I was discussing it with my girlfriend. She suggested that the name of the business should include our specialty products, tarts, so it is easily memorized. And then, an adjective, tasty, suddenly came to my mind. Surprisingly, tasty and tart have a similar spelling, which makes our sign/logo pretty symmetric. Yeah, so that’s it!
Q: Why are you launching this business here in Champaign?
I was born in Champaign and raised up in Taiwan. After moving back to Champaign (since my girlfriend got admission into UIUC), I fall in love with this area and feel somehow familiar with this land. We met many kind people who help us tremendously here in Champaign/Illinois that we are really appreciated. It just feels so good to be home. Holding this faith and gratitude, I hope I can bring some delicious tarts to Champaign-Urbana. Therefore, I decide to root in Champaign and come back to where my life starts.
Q: I can imagine you didn’t expect to open under these circumstances. How has the current situation impacted your plans?
We implement some plans to protect both yours and our health and keep social distancing in our store. However, we still view it as an opportunity since restaurants are accounted for an essential business that we can still open to provide some sweets to soothe everybody’s mind during this pandemic.
Q: What will be the hours? How will it serve customers in the era of curbside/delivery etc?
11 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days a week. We do provide curbside pickup. Delivery is still under discussion since we haven’t actually opened yet. Customers may order online, contact us on Facebook and Instagram. Our phone is (331) 303-2477 and our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.