There are many Asian style bakeries in Metro Atlanta. Mozart’s, White Windmill, and similar shops carry excellent pastries, though most are considered a cross of Korean and French cuisine. Until recently, there wasn’t a place that offered sweets from Taiwan. The Nihao Atlanta Bookstore & Teahouse, located in the Chinatown Mall, now fills that niche by introducing trendy Taiwanese desserts and beverages to Atlanta. Says owner, Rita Chao, “Taiwan is considered to have the tastiest and most creative food among Asia; it would be a shame for anyone with a sweet tooth to miss it.”
Rita and her husband purchased an existing bookstore. They were visiting Atlanta in the summer of 2010 and the former owner, a longtime friend, announced she was retiring. The Chinese bookstore was more than 24 years old at that time and continues to be important to the Chinese speaking community—particularly new immigrants and first generation Chinese who frequent the mall. “The Atlanta Chinatown Mall was built in 1989, and this bookstore was here since the grand opening.” Rita and her husband felt it was important to keep the store going, so they moved back to Atlanta from Houston and bought the bookstore in October of 2010.
But most successful modern bookstores have a coffee or tea house and there wasn’t one anywhere in the mall. “When the space next to our store became vacant in early 2011, we realized that it is a chance for us to upgrade this bookstore.” In March of 2011, the tearoom was opened. It has a light, pleasant, almost whimsical décor.
But it isn’t just Chamblee residents who shop there. “Besides the local business, the out-of towners are an important part of our customer base. Up to today, our bookstore is the only Chinese bookstore within the Southeast Reign other than Florida. Many Asian shoppers from afar still come to this location, as often as they can, even when there many alternatives nowadays.”
Nihao means "hello" in Mandarin.
This teahouse is the final stop on the Atlanta Culinary Tour of Chinatown Mall, featuring authentic Sichuan food in the food court and a tour of the Dinho market.
Nihao Atlanta Bookstore & Teahouse
5381 New Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30341