While searching for a new home for her Des Peres boutique, business owner Karen Halper heard the story of a courageous woman named Mary Ann (Kovac) Allison. Allison, an area antique dealer with a heart of gold, died in 2009 while rushing into her home to save her beloved pets --- six cats, five dogs, three birds and a fox. Halper purchased the Central West End structure from Allison's son, transforming its greenhouse into Mary Ann's Tea Room (4732 McPherson Avenue; 314-361-5303). The posh tea room opened in conjunction with Enchanting Embellishments, an interior design and goods specialty shop, on August 29.
Halper shows off her interior design expertise, filling the space with lavish Victorian-themed paintings, statuettes and table settings to evoke a theme Fowler refers to as "casual elegance." The 50-seat room comes bathed in natural light and embellished with vases full of fresh floral arrangements.
"We want to offer an experience whether you're local or from out-of-town. We want this to be a destination. We want to elicit a feeling of fancy. It's a one of a kind space," says general manager Ken Fowler.
Chef Ben Herbert developed the lunch menu with consultation from Stephen Proctor, the executive chef of the Fox Theatre. It features a list of soups, salads and sandwiches to pair with a the large selection of Dilmah and Tea Forte teas. Choose from options including French onion soup, a honey-smoked salmon salad, chicken salad and more. Wine, cocktails and tea-infused mocktails are also available. Pastries come from local bakeries Hank's Cheesecakes and La Bonne Bouche.
"We're not your standard lunch destination," says Fowler. "We're hoping people sit and spend some time with us and soak in the experience."
Mary Ann's Tea Room's hours are currently Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. High tea is available with a 48-hour in advance reservation. The tea room also offers a taxi service, with pick-up by an authentic British taxi. For more information, visit the Mary Ann's Tea Room website and follow it on Facebook.
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