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TK’s Fruit, Produce and Bubble Tea offers healthy alternatives and a taste of culture

MORGANTOWN—Traveling abroad isn’t the only way to taste food from around the world, as TK’s Fruit, Produce and Bubble Tea continues to bring those same great tastes right to downtown Morgantown. 

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, customers can stop by TK’s for homemade dishes inspired by food from Malaysia, India and Thailand. Located at 243 Walnut St., owner Nark Kumaravelan said every meal is made fresh daily and uses strictly vegan or vegetarian ingredients.

“To some people, vegetarian food is boring, bland salad, but not here,” said Sofia Eagan, a longtime employee at TK’s. “I think people find it hard to believe that all of this is vegetarian food.”

Due to COVID-19, TK’s has limited its menu and is focusing primarily on preparing meals for its all-you-can-eat buffet style lunch featuring about eight dishes. Sandwiches and small items are also still available for purchase.

Some of the most popular dishes at TK’s are based on those from Nark’s home country of Malaysia. Randang Curry, made with mushrooms and potatoes in a coconut curry base is a popular option along with Malaysian chic non-curry made with fresh vegetables and coconut sauce. 

Several flavors of bubble tea and smoothies are another specialty offered at the restaurant. A mini grocery store with produce and fruits, spices, frozen vegetarian options and more can be found inside as well.

Nark and his wife, Saracha Kumaravelan’s inspiration to open TK’s came from their experience living in New York City. Prior to moving to Morgantown about six years ago, Nark served as the president of a cultural center for a religious foundation known as the Interfaith League of Devotees.

He said fresh produce and vegetarian options were much more accessible in New York City, but when he first moved to Morgantown, he noticed those options were few and far between.

“Me and my wife thought, it was hard for us to find vegetarian food [restaurants] in town, so why don’t we open one?” Nark said.

Since originally opening TK’s at its first location on High Street in 2015, Nark decided to expand into the current location a little over two years ago. Despite challenges with COVID-19 as well as battling health conditions, TK’s remained open as much as possible, but has had to shut down intermittently over the past year. 

Last fall, Nark required a kidney transplant and a heart transplant, the first dual-organ transplant ever performed in West Virginia. During that time, the restaurant remained closed between November 2020 and March 2021 .

Throughout his time in recovery, he said the community was supportive and always looking forward for the business to reopen. After taking a few months off, the restaurant officially reopened in early April. 

“We have great local community support; everybody was waiting for us to open,” Nark said. “Even now, I feel OK to do a lot of stuff, but not 100% yet. But, you have to open up for people to eat good food and also be able to catch up on our bills.”

Nark plans to keep bringing healthy alternatives to the community, and by mid to late summer, he hopes to bring back more menu items. He said he encourages people to come downtown, enjoy a healthy meal and support local businesses in the area as much as possible.

“I think people should come in more often,” Eagan said. “We have a real sense of community here.”

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