by Robin Gee
Five Questions Friday: Mrs. Teapots
January is “Hot Tea Month,” according to the Tea Council of the USA. Winter seems the perfect season for a warm cup, a cozy sweater and a good book.
Mrs. Teapots is Bellevue’s own tea room. Owner Paula Gallo-Knight, aka Mrs. Teapots, shares how to make the perfect cup of tea and the joys of serving good food.
1. What made you decide to open a tea shop in Bellevue?
I had tea parties in my home but my original vision was to have a place people can have dessert, coffee and talk. I did some research and found that tea rooms were becoming popular. I liked the lace curtains and pretty atmosphere they offered.
I drove down some back roads in Bellevue and saw an open store front. I gave the owners a call, rented it and renovated the space. Fortunately, my husband is a retired custom woodworker.
2. What has made your business a success?
I’ve been here 11 years, and we are always evolving. In my research, I found that English high tea food is very sweet so I decided to add quiche, salad and sandwiches.
A lot of the places I researched just offered high tea. I wondered what to do when I was not doing a high tea, so I decided to offer a lunch menu. I think it’s the quality of food we offer in addition to tea that sets us apart.
We also offer teas, teapots and tea items for sale. My husband bags our loose teas himself.
3. What are some favorite teas and dishes at Mrs. Teapots?
Our menu changes with the seasons. Right now French Carmel Crème Brule is a big seller. My favorite is Peach Apricot Brandy. In fall we feature pumpkin tea, in winter chocolate and spiced teas are popular and in spring it’s iced teas.
I have a culinary degree and make everything fresh. We serve pastries, sandwiches, soups and a lot of fresh salads. Our chicken salad is very popular. Our menu has really expanded over 10 to 11 years.
4. How should one make the perfect cup of tea?
Make sure the water is boiling. Use a teaspoon of tea for each cup, four to five for a pot. And keep it warm. I tried tea cozies but they didn’t really work. Then I discovered a ceramic tea warmer. They work very well. We sell these in the shop.
5. Any advice for tea lovers at home?
My advice is if you have good china stored away, get it out. I have teapots from all over the world and I use them. We use real china, real silver here. My thought is why keep good stuff in a closet. Use it!
Mrs. Teapots is located at 339 Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue and is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. High tea is served from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and reservations are required. Sundays are reserved for groups of 15 or more celebrating special occasions. For more information go to the Mrs. Teapots website or find Mrs. Teapots Tea Room on Facebook.
Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Five Questions Friday,” a new feature for Bellevue Dayton Sun in which we share answers to five questions posed to community members, leaders and business people.