We warmly welcome you to The Kate Pearl Tea Room! If you’ve never been to afternoon tea, you’re in for a treat!
Before you get here, it is SO IMPORTANT that you let us know about any food allergies BEFORE you arrive. We don’t accommodate food preferences, but we do want to keep food safe for people with allergies. If something is on the tray that you don’t prefer, you can either trade with your friends or skip that element all together. Sometimes we will serve you two of a allergen-free sandwich if we are unable to whip up a replacement. Our kitchen is pretty small, so we really don’t always have the counter or storage space to make alternative replacements. We have prioritized gluten free, vegetarian, and nut allergies. We cannot accommodate vegan diets (because we love butter) and we cannot accommodate dairy-free guests.
Many guests ask about a dress code… historically, afternoon tea is classy & formal. We have guests that wear gloves, hats, and pearls – and we have guests that wear jeans and sweatshirts. We want you to enjoy yourself. So if you enjoy dressing up, then by all means, PLEASE dress up! But if you are in the mood to be more comfortable, that’s how you should dress.
One of the interesting things about a tea room is that it is a place where people come to CONNECT. We have guests arrive to celebrate and guests gather to mourn. We have guests who bring books to discuss and guests who bow their heads in prayer together. We have laughter and we have tears. It’s a venue for connection and intimacy. We’ve had brides fresh from the courthouse and birthday celebrations from 5-year-olds to 105-year-olds. We have generations of families around the table, classy guys impressing their first dates, husbands and wives celebrating decades of marriage, best friends talking each other’s ears off….. So come, come together to connect. That’s why we are here.
Here is what you can expect when you arrive. Afternoon tea is definitely NOT fast food! Your tea service will last for 1.5 to 2.5 hours. This is why our youngest guests must be over the age of five. Nursing infants can be brought to the tea room – but leave the stroller in the car – our tea rooms don’t have space for them, nor do we have any highchairs, car seat slings, or changing tables. Please, PLEASE do not bring toddlers and pre-schoolers to the tea room. Based on our age-policies, our other diners have gotten babysitters so that they can enjoy a specific dining environment. And we KNOW your toddler is probably the very best and most wonderful toddler in the world, but our tea room is FULL of expensive breakables and our teapots are FULL of scalding hot water. So, please, leave them behind until their 5th birthday. We like to think of the tea room as a spa for your soul. Expect to be here a while, and allow us to pamper you!
After you arrive and are seated, your hostess will present you with an extensive menu of loose teas. Each guest is served their own pot of tea – so you don’t all have to agree on which tea you would like to try! We encourage sharing pots so that you get to taste more of our delicious teas! As you empty your pot, we are happy to brew you another – and it doesn’t have to be the same one you first ordered. We don’t like pouring tea down the drain – so please only order what you are planning to enjoy! Now – here is something you NEED to know! Tea takes TIME to steep! So after your server has taken your order, you’ll need to be patient while they prepare the perfect pot. This takes between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on which tea you ordered and how many pots need to be brought to your table. Some teas only take a minute or two to steep, but others take eight! After your teas are all finished brewing, and are wrapped warmly in their tea cozies, your server will pour your first cup for you and leave the pot for you to serve yourself. Please don’t let small children pour their own tea! We don’t want their little hands to be scalded!
Royal Tea Services will be served their appetizer while their teas are brewing.
Shortly after your tea arrives, your scones will be served with cream & jam. ENJOY!!!! The kitchen staff is CONSTANTLY coming up with delightful scone flavors – and we serve the entire table the same scone. However, the table next to you might get a different flavor. Sometimes, there are extra scones for sale – and sometimes there are not. You’ll have to check with your server if you want to purchase additional scones to take home – we bake them fresh daily (if you give us 24 hours notice, we can put a take-home scone order together for you that morning). Our clotted cream and jam are also for sale and the kitchen staff is happy to package them up for you.
After the scones have been polished off, Kate’s Teas & Royal Teas will be served their salads & soups and Full Afternoon Teas are served their soups OR salads (chef’s choice). The Royal Tea Services will then receive their sparkling beverages – these are non-alcoholic. (The tea room can not sell alcohol, but we can uncork and serve champagne if you would like to bring a bottle with you.)
Next, the Children’s Teas, Light Afternoon Teas, Full Afternoon Teas, and Royal Teas will get their three-tiered tray. This tray carries your savories and tea sandwiches, your fresh fruit, and your tea desserts! Our menu changes ALL the time, with the creativity of our chefs. Consequently, we have NO IDEA what they will be serving you on your tray. That’s part of the fun & whimsy of afternoon tea. At the end of the tea service, you’ll get a little sorbet with Kate’s signature chocolate pearl!
We want you to enjoy your table for up to 2.5 hours but please don’t linger longer than that, because we need to clear and reset for the next reservation! Before you check out, you can pop upstairs to our little gift shop, and when you are ready to check out, you can put your gift shop and loose tea purchases on the same ticket as your afternoon tea services. We are able to split checks upon request. We take all major credit cards. Did you notice how many times your server came to your table? Afternoon tea requires between 10 and 14 trips back and forth for your server! We have an automatic gratuity of 18% but feel free to add an additional amount if you feel your service has been excellent.
There are restrooms on both the main level and the upstairs level in the Westminster location.
The kitchen and back server staircase are for employees only – but we welcome our guests to take a peek at all four of our tearooms – especially when they are decorated for special events and Christmas!
We love our customers and we enjoy reading your online reviews. However, sometimes a disenchanted guest leaves an unkind and damaging review. We want you to LOVE your time at the tea room, so if something isn’t right, please give us a chance to fix it BEFORE you leave! We have noticed that most of our unhappy customers just didn’t know what to expect from afternoon tea – whether it be the per-person pricing or the length of the tea service or how long it takes to get tea to the table…. so we hope that the information shared here will help you know what is coming.
If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to call the tea room! We will return your call during business hours!
We hope you have a fantastic experience when you come to dine with us. There’s nothing quite like an afternoon tea room.