Table For One: The Tea House

Sarasota Tea co.

The Tea House

“When you brew a cup of tea for someone it is a soothing and healing drink. For tea is warm understanding poured over bitter leaves.” Jeanne ming-Brantingham-Hayes

Driving to my office on Tuesday morning, I had a sudden urge to alleviate my curiosity about the blue house with the red letters in the window at 1869 Fruitville Road. The sign says, Now Open and the red lettering spells Tea House, I drive around to the spacious parking lot and park my car. A whimsical garden is out back with various kinds of furniture and seating. Walking up to the house there is a wheelchair ramp or stairs that lead you to the door.

Inside over 130 varieties of tea stored in insulated tea canisters adorn the shelves. A chalkboard wall keeps you informed of local desserts, pastries and sandwiches arriving that day from local vendors, and a rack with the tea booklet sits to the side of the counter. Knowing what to order could be very overwhelming, luckily knowledgeable owners Jill Brantingham and Tony Almengual are there to help.

Spicy Basil Lemongrass, Grasshopper, Blood Chocolate Orange, Pumpkin Spice… after smelling a variety of tea’s, I go with the Black Spice Chai tea with a couple mini pastries. You can choose to get one cup of tea, but since I am staying a while I get the tea kettle. As I find a seat inside the main room, I hear a man ordering coffee, which they do have.

As I take in the interior, an instant calm falls over me. It reminds me of an old charming home on Long Island where I would come for shelter from a snow storm.  Warm and cozy, the interior brings a hint of the outdoors in with tree branches along the walls, bird cages hanging from the ceiling among the chandeliers, fresh flowers and wood along the walls and furniture.

Jill brings over my tea and I invite her to sit down. She tells me her and Tony made a lot of what you see inside, “The bars made from an old wood door, the wall behind where you are sitting made from old shipping palettes and the table tops from old ceiling tiles.” The inspiration for the decor; based on Tea Rooms they’ve visited around the world.

With seating for over one hundred people, it’s a place you want to bring friends or sit alone and ponder life. Complimentary wi-fi is available for those who feel inspired to bring a laptop and stay a while. A Bob Marley song plays in the background, Try Me – this says it all. This is a place a Table For One will feel at home.

Open Mon-Fri 10 am-10 pm, weekends until 11 pm and Sunday 2 pm – 6 pm. If you’re looking for a  gift idea, they have items for purchase that won’t disappoint. Every fourth Friday 5 pm-9 pm, the newly renovated Downtown Village has an art walk with a wine tent, live music and the women owned shops along the street invite you to peek inside – tell them I sent you!





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