Restaurant News & Reviews

Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker have a new excuse for coming to Charlotte: Snickerdoodles.

From left, Andy Roddick, Tiff’s Treat co-founders Leon and Tiffany Chen, and Brooklyn Decker.
From left, Andy Roddick, Tiff’s Treat co-founders Leon and Tiffany Chen, and Brooklyn Decker. Courtesy of Tiff's Treats

When it’s suggested to Andy Roddick that he and his wife — Matthews native/actress Brooklyn Decker — seem to be building a brand as a husband-and-wife team of entertainers, the Hall of Fame tennis player laughs.

“I don’t know what we are,” he says. “I know that we spent the first decade we were together never doing anything together, and the last two years doing everything together.”

Most recently, they did a co-headlining turn last month on Paramount Network’s “Lip Sync Battle,” in which the couple took turns mouthing the words to hits by Bruno Mars and Beyoncé. Next up, they’ll be featured in an episode of ABC’s “Celebrity Family Feud,” which returns for its sixth season in June.

But they don’t just play together; they also do business together. According to an October 2018 article in Forbes, Roddick has (or had, at the time, at least) an investment stake in 17 companies. The story added that 80 percent of Roddick’s business deals include Decker.

As it turns out, one of those deals will give them yet more excuses to bring their young children back to Decker’s hometown so they can visit with their grandparents.

To explain: In the eight months since Roddick, 36, and Decker, 31, became shareholders and ambassadors for Austin, Texas-based Tiff’s Treats, the warm-cookie delivery company has solidified summer 2019 expansion plans that include two locations in the Charlotte area — one in the Waverly development off Providence Road just south of I-485, and another at a to-be-determined location in uptown.

Opening dates aren’t set yet, but Roddick says you can count on him and his wife being on hand for the official grand openings.

In the meantime, anyone who lives or works in the uptown, Midtown, South End or Dilworth areas can get a taste of what Tiff’s has to offer via a pop-up delivery service that launched Monday. For now, hours are limited to 10 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays, and the menu only includes freshly baked cookies. The delivery charge is $5, and the turnaround time can be 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Once the brick-and-mortar locations are open, they’ll also make brownies, ice cream and other specialty treats.

(Tiff’s Treats was founded in 1999 by University of Texas at Austin students Leon Chen and Tiffany Taylor to help fellow students get through exams; Tiffany Taylor is now Tiffany Chen, and the business has grown to 48 stores in Texas, Georgia and Tennessee.)

We spoke this week to Roddick — who, with Decker, splits time between a primary residence in Austin and a new mountain home in Cashiers, three hours west of Charlotte — about his history with Tiff’s Treats, his adventures and parenting, and how much tennis he’s gotten to play lately.

Questions and answers have been lightly edited.

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Andy Roddick, shown after winning the U.S. Open in 2003, retired from tennis in 2012. Amy Sancetta Associated Press File Photo

Q. So what’s the story behind your and Brooklyn’s involvement with Tiff’s?

I’ve been a fan of their products forever. I used to go to the UT location, after I moved back to Austin in 2003. Then they put one within 10 minutes of where we were living, just outside of Austin. And it was one of the stops I would make if I got back from a long road trip. ...

I didn’t know Tiff and Leon. But three or four years ago, Leon and I were at one of the same forums, with different business and philanthropic and sports leaders in Austin, and were in a couple of the same conversations. I was like, ‘Oh man, you’re the Tiff’s Treats people — you guys are awesome!’ ...

It was a casual relationship for awhile. They were gracious enough to support our foundation a little bit, so I did an appearance at an opening for them, and so then Leon threw out last year that they were looking to do some local (commercial) spots in Austin. It was, you know, “Shoot a day, we’ll pay you X.” I said, “Listen, I’d love to be involved, but I’m less concerned with what you’ll pay me for a given day, and I’m more concerned that I would love to buy some of your company.”

Q. Did you have to talk them into expanding to Charlotte?

No, actually, it was during one of those conversations where we were hashing out the way everything with the deal would work. We were discussing next markets and they said, “Well, you know what market we really love and that we think we’re gonna go next — and this stays between us for now —” And I blurted out, “Charlotte.” I probably overstepped at that point. But they were like, “Uh, yeah, that’s what we were gonna say.” And I was like, “Man, I know someone from Charlotte.” So it seemed like a natural fit, obviously, with Brook’s ties to the area here. She knows Charlotte pretty well.

Q. There was a story I saw in an Austin paper announcing the partnership that called Tiff’s Treats “a beloved Austin brand.” How beloved is it?

I have a friend whose kid was playing baseball and broke his arm, and he goes, “Something like that happens and you’re gonna get 50 boxes of Tiff’s Treats.” It’s replaced flowers and cards, and it just becomes something that you give, whether it’s an office party, whether it’s a thank-you — it’s become what you do in the culture in Austin. Listen, I love everyone who’s ever written me a nice card, but I like snickerdoodles more.

Q. Does Brooklyn have a weakness for these, too?

That’s like asking if someone has a pulse. It’s tough. I mean, they come and they’ll be on the kitchen counter and it’s like, ‘Oh man.’ You’ll kind of see ‘em dwindle down. No one will ever actually see anyone eat one, but then all of a sudden there’s two left.. ... A box comes, a box is gonna get eaten.

Q. And I’d imagine a lot of boxes come to the house?

Yeah, every meeting you go to with them, you leave with four boxes of cookies. I mean, I come to Charlotte and lose weight, and then I go back to Austin and start eating Tiff’s again. But that’s short-lived (since Charlotte is getting two stores).

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Q. When you guys are in Charlotte, do you have a favorite bar or restaurant to hang out at as a couple?

Ideologically, yes. But when one of your kids goes down at 7, it becomes a little difficult. We’re in that social-life vacuum a little bit right now. I mean, we’ve gotten out and about, and there are places we certainly enjoy, but we aren’t getting out very often these days.

Q. How’s parenthood going?

It’s fantastic. Our son (3-year-old Hank) has got a pretty decent vocabulary, and is basically a unicorn of niceness. We’re not really sure where he got it from. And our daughter (1-year-old Stevie) is a little — a lot tougher. She’ll let you know when she’s not happy. So it’s fun seeing the differences between the two of ‘em. ...

Honestly, the hardest thing is sleep. And that your time and geography aren’t your own all the time. Especially with Brook, I mean, she works on a show in L.A. (Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie,” now in its fifth season), we’re between Austin and Charlotte, and she co-founded a company that’s in New York (online wardrobe service Finery.com). All the while, we’re raising a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. She’s burning it at all ends all the time, so it’s nice that we’ve finally hit this place where both kids are sleeping all through the night all the time. ...

I mean, knock on wood right now — and hopefully it’s still the case when this goes into print — but we’re sleeping again.

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Brooklyn Decker in a scene from Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.” Courtesy of Netflix

Q. Meanwhile, how much fun was it filming that “Lip Sync Battle” episode?

It was was nerve-racking more than it was fun. It was fun when it was in the rear-view. How it came together is I run a charitable foundation in Austin, and John Legend has performed for us twice. (Legend is married to “Lip Sync Battle” co-host Chrissy Teigen.) And the way that works is that I’m basically the on-call favor-maker forever if you play for us. So Chrissy called us about a week before, and was like, “Hey, we need you guys to come on.” And I’m like, “OH NO.” It was just a nightmare. About an hour before the show, Brook didn’t know the words to her songs, I had no idea what I was doing — and somehow it came together.

Q. And what can you tell us about “Celebrity Family Feud”?

That was another one. Our friend Bobby Bones — who’s a country-music radio guy and does “Idol” (he’ll be an in-house mentor on the coming season of ABC’s “American Idol”) and won “Dancing With the Stars” and all that — we go back. We used to do a tiny little sports show in Austin. So that was another favor. He’s emceed our foundation gala in Austin a million times, and so he needed someone to play against in “Family Feud,” so that was us.

Q. Finally: Are you playing much tennis these days?

Yeah, I’m trying to. My resolution is to play more. It got to like November of last year — and it wasn’t even a conscious thing, it’s just, life happens — but I looked back, and I had played less than 10 times the entire year last year. I’m like, “That’s not enough.” So I’ve been hitting a little bit more this year and want to play a couple more events. Tennis has given me everything that I have, so I don’t want to be negligent. It’s no fun to go out there and stink, so I’m trying to get better.

Théoden Janes: 704-358-5897, @theodenjanes

Théoden Janes has spent 12 years covering entertainment and pop culture for the Observer. He also thrives on telling emotive long-form stories about extraordinary Charlotteans and — as a veteran of 20-plus marathons and two Ironman triathlons — occasionally writes about endurance and other sports.
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