The London Tea Room is moving from Tower Grove South to Downtown West in St. Louis this fall
The London Tea Room has announced it will move from 3128 Morgan Ford Road in Tower Grove South to 1900 Locust St. in Downtown West with an opening date slated for Oct. 15.
The last day of all operations in Tower Grove South will be Oct. 9; however, the café portion (similar to a coffee shop) of the business will end Sept. 4, and only afternoon tea service will be offered beginning Sept. 7. “I want to extend my thanks to the Tower Grove neighborhood. It’s been a good run, and we’re excited for our new path, but it’s sad to leave [the Morgan Ford location] behind,” said owner Jackie James.
The primary reason for moving is lack of space, according to Jackie’s son, Peter James, business operations manager. “The [current] place is so small, and it’s always packed, especially on weekends,” he said.
The business currently has room for only 35 to 40 people in about 3,000 square feet, which will soon be increased fivefold in the new location. The new building’s main dining area, the Hyde Park Room, has capacity for 66 seats. Cafe service will not be offered at the new location, but afternoon tea service will be available, typically in 90-minute seatings. Parties of up to 16 will be welcome to walk in for afternoon tea. Advance bookings can accommodate 32.
The British menu curated by Jackie James will change seasonally aside from staples such as cucumber sandwiches and macarons. She hopes to hire a pastry chef to finalize the offerings, which will include gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. The new Garden Waldorf salad sandwich will feature chickpeas tossed in a vegan curry mayonnaise on a mini croissant.
Quiche will no longer be served at the new location. “When we looked at the expenses, we found we weren’t making any money on it with the cost of the baker, the Gruyere and heavy cream. As wonderful as it was, we’ve got to think with our business head,” Jackie James said.
For afternoon tea service, each guest can pick from a menu of black tea, white tea, green tea, oolong, puer and herbal tea. Food is served on a three-tiered tray, with dessert at the top, scones in the middle and savory items like sandwiches and mini sausage rolls on bottom. The London Tea Room will also offer savory high tea, which does not include dessert. The tea is served first followed by a two-tiered tray with savory items like on top and scones on bottom.
Guests may book the Kensington Room, which seats roughly 100, for private tea parties and events catered by the London Tea Room. The Mayfair Room, which can hold up to 200 guests, is available for weddings and receptions with outside caterers. “If someone wants a larger wedding, they could have the two rooms together to seat up to about 300,” Jackie James said.
While The London Tea Room is still in the process of acquiring a liquor license, they are looking for a bar vendor to serve mimosas, Champagne and wine. The London Tea Room will not offer a full bar, but outside bartenders will be able to serve liquor at private events.
The airy yet intimate building has two rooms on the first floor and two rooms on the second. The 1,000-square-foot patio adjacent to the Hyde Park Room will host events like the fall bonfire and open in spring to seat 60.
A 1,200-square-foot room on the first floor is currently under renovation to match the rest of the building. “It’s elegant. It’s a historic building and it has a lot of character to it. It’s got a warm vibe. We fell in love with it when we walked into it for the first time because it’s so welcoming,” Jackie James said. “It has beautiful exposed brick and hardwood floors – it’s casual elegance but also very comfortable and calming.”
Hours at the new location will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Last call for kitchen service will be 1 hour and 15 minutes before close.
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