Pom Pom Goes To St. Pete


Tom Woodard(left) with his partner of four years, James Travis Smith at the future location of Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria St. Petersburg.

Orlando-based culinary artist Pom Moongauklang is bringing her signature sandwiches to St. Petersburg’s trendy Grand Central District. The creator of the multi-award winning eateries Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria and Tako Cheena has sold a Pom Pom’s franchise to retired Orange County deputy Tom Woodard.

Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria St. Pete is slated to open just in time for St. Pete Pride. Woodard is  industriously remodeling the space, formerly occupied by a pharmacy, at 2950 Central Ave.

After being a regular of Pom Pom’s and a built friendship over nine years, the enterprise came about roughly three years ago, said Woodard. However, Moongauklang says she’s known of Woodard’s interest in the franchise for about six years.

Woodard said he has a love affair with Pom Pom’s food, atmosphere and vibe. Additionally, his background includes two and a half years of Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts before becoming a cop.

“He has told me for many years that one day he would love to have [a Pom’s] in St. Pete,” she said.

She went on to say that Woodard came to her roughly two weeks before his retirement in January of this year, that he was ready to put the plan in motion.

“I had less than a month to decide if this is a door I want to open,” Moongauklang laughed.

In the end, she says her decision was based on his ethics and wanting to be part of the St. Pete community.

“I couldn’t have wanted this for anyone else,” she boasted. “I feel like a surrogate mother. I know in my heart he will love and take care of Pom Poms.”

Woodard said he will be the sole owner but of course Moongauklang will be actively involved.

“It’s her brand, her reputation and good name,” he said.

More info:
pompomsstpete.com & facebook