A boba tea-fueled buzz has been brewing in Silver Lake since mid-October with the opening of Jellyman, a caffeinated enterprise from A-lister Donald Glover (also known as Childish Gambino) that gives boba, coffee, and milk teas a contemporary spin, all served in a futuristic space. For those active on TikTok and Instagram, visits to Jellyman are regularly documented by influencers and layman alike, but details have been slim thus far. Eater LA connected with a representative for the multi-hyphenate Glover to learn all about his new venture. Here’s the rundown.
Luke Wood, former president of Beats by Dre, co-founded the boba shop along with Glover. Opening a boba shop has been a longstanding dream of Glover’s; he believes that Jellyman could be an ideal third space for patrons outside of home and work. The two music industry heavyweights hired Jesse Fresnedi, formerly of Boba Guys, as Jellyman’s chief culinary officer. Glover and Wood encouraged Fresnedi to lean into weirdness while developing the menu. She drew from 10 years of boba-crafting experience and the flavors she encountered growing up in the Philippines, Singapore, and England.
On the menu
Jellyman’s extensive drinks menu uses fresh and organic ingredients made in-house and includes options with matcha, milk tea, and brown sugar boba made with caramelized cane sugar. Some of Jellyman’s more unconventional flavors include Thai limeade, rose hibiscus, and a drink called Peanut Butter and Jelly, Man which is made with peanut milk, grape jelly, and maple sea salt foam. Alternative milks are available, as are toppings like chia seeds, grass jelly, egg pudding, maple sea salt foam, and “blue spots” made with butterfly pea. Jellyman offers customizable sweetness levels on most beverages.
On the vibe
The space, which used to be a Blossom Vietnamese restaurant, was redesigned by Barbara Bestor of Bestor Architecture and includes a giant front window, bench seating, wood paneling, and Mexican tiles from Ceramico Suro. The room very much feels like being on board a spaceship. Find a giant, round Jellyman statue by graphic artist Geoff McFetridge stationed right next to the wall-sized menu (McFetridge also developed the shop’s art and branding) and staffers suited in uniforms by next-door neighbor and clothing designer, Kevin Carney. An original score by the Academy Award-winning composer Ludwig Göransson fills the room.
There’s been a consistent queue waiting to order drinks since Jellyman opened in October. Prices range from $5.75 to $8 (add-ons are $.85 or $1). While prices are well above average in Southern California’s robust boba culture, Los Angeles is no stranger to high-end boba; Sip Boba Lounge opened in early 2023 and serves bubble tea and alcohol in a nightclub setting.
Jellyman is open at 4019 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90029 from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.