Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The English Tea Room's Grand Opening

Rob and Dawn Cork being toasted by friends.

Merely a week after my first visit, the English Tea Room hosted their grand opening celebration and is now officially open for business. It was a congenial gathering, with many downtown business owners there to show support. Live music was performed by Ron Jeffries, Tim Stone of Lightning Bolt Advertising, and Tim's son, Nathaniel. There was a rousing sherry toast to the Queen Mum, followed by a chorus of "God Save the Queen" (the United Kingdom's national anthem), followed by our own national anthem.

Shelley Simmons of Main Street and Christina Drake of Local Flair Art Gallery
enjoying the music

The English Tea Room then served a complete and savory meal, consisting of shepherd's pie, roast beef, salmon tea sandwiches, quiche, and bread. There was also horseradish and English mustard served on the side. Rob Cork offered a word of caution regarding the English mustard. He said it was not be used liberally like American mustard, for if one did so, it would "bring you to your knees." Having tried a mere dot of it on my roast beef, I'm inclined to believe he wasn't exaggerating. The meal was topped off with coffee and a lovely cake, depicting an image of the Vintage Square building.

The English Tea Room has added a Three Course English Sunday Lunch to their menu, with starters of prawn cocktail, egg mayonnaise, and soup and a main course of roast beef, Yorkshire Pudding, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, peas and carrots. Dessert choices include strawberries and cream, fruit flan with ice cream, and apple pie a la mode. Patrons can enjoy all of this for just $19.95.

Hope Johnstone of DRC and Harmony Johnstone-Reeser of the Cafe on Broadway
take in the view from the Vintage Square veranda.

I had the pleasure of dining with Carolyn Robinson, owner of the Cafe on Broadway and Harmony Johnstone-Reeser, the cafe's manager. They thoroughly enjoyed the English meal, and are thrilled to have the English Tea Room join them in feeding the downtown's many visitors.

During the open house, I also chatted with Scott and Tasha Jones, owners of the Jolly Rogers Sweet Shoppe (along with Tom Leadabrand). Their latest news is that the shoppe will soon be called Fratelli's Wood Fired Pizzaria, although they'll still serve candy and gelato. Speaking of gelato (and I certainly love to do so), Facebook members are invited to become fans of Fratelli's in order to get flavor updates and breaking news. In case you are curious, this month's featured gelato flavor is Apple Pie.

Cynthia Lee of the Siloam Springs Museum chatting with Carolyn Robinson and
Hamony Johnstone-Reeser of the Cafe on Broadway.

I talked with Cynthia Lee from the Siloam Springs Museum and her husband, John. They mentioned that Pearl Starr, daughter of the notorious outlaw Belle Starr, is rumored to have given birth to one of her children in either the current Vintage Square building (home of The English Tea Room and Picture Me Studio) or the nearby Crown Motel. Just imagine, a building that once birthed an outlaw's grandchild is now giving new life to downtown with international cuisine. (Perhaps I took that analogy too far.)

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