Main & Luxe Magazine

Connect to the Luxe Life of Main Street!

By Staci Hauk

Tearooms often conjure nostalgia for a simpler time, and two local women are innovating the notion with experiences that boast lush ambiance and gourmet goodies, reminiscent of high teas enjoyed in generations past. They are here to remind everyone to make the time to ‘take tea.’

Pinecone Cottage Tea House
1029 Burlington Ave, Downers Grove

Chef Pamela Geralds fell into the tearoom business over 30 years ago. An avid gardener, she began her business by selling vegetables on the honor system from the front yard of her charming, 1905 cottage next to the Downers Grove Golf Club. She would host tea parties on the pastoral property incorporating the fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables grown in her garden. Word-of-mouth spread, and in 2001, Pamela and her husband established the Pinecone Cottage Tea House in downtown Downers Grove. The name was derived from the towering pine trees that surround their cottage.

“I source my teas from different places, and we blend some ourselves. They each have their own profiles and are hand-picked for specific reasons. I then pair them with foods like you would with wine. Often, we host a variety of events at the Tea House, about one hundred showers a year! We also host cooking classes that incorporate tea. And there is a very specific way we are different from others like us—we cater. It’s very labor intensive, but we love it! We cater events all over the Chicagoland area, making us accessible to those outside of the immediate area,” Pamela explained.

Pamela has perfected the all-important high-tea treat, the scone. Her recipe has been worked on extensively, originating at the Ballymaloe Cookery School the Geralds attended in Ireland. She also intertwines family recipes—such as her shortbread—that she creates in different savory and sweet flavors. The popularity of these pastries led to a cookbook, 12 Months of Teas, available at the shop.

The Pinecone Cottage is reservations-only for the three-course tea, and it offers outdoor dining surrounded by Pamela’s beautiful flowerpots and hanging baskets.

Pinecone Cottage Tea House

Lavender Fields Tearoom
635 E Boughton Rd (Suite 115), Bolingbrook

Nicole J.T.E. Jones, Owner of Lavender Fields Tearoom, first found success by mastering the infamous macaron. “I always loved the challenge of mastering a difficult recipe, and I knew I could do so with macarons, as I just wasn’t impressed with the ones I was tasting (during the macaron craze). I finally tasted one I loved and got to work perfecting it on my own—I was not going to be defeated by a cookie,” said Nicole laughingly.

Nicole hoped to continue this as a hobby/part-time endeavor—then Jones’ husband, who worked in the urgent care field, contracted Covid-19 at the onset of the virus in 2020. He was in the hospital for six weeks in a coma and on life support, after which, he could not work, struggled to walk again, and developed severe heart and kidney issues. When her husband got the good news that he’d made it onto the heart and kidney transplant list, Nicole decided to host a pop-up Mother’s Day tearoom to celebrate.

The pop-up did two seatings a day, and people were coming by inquiring if it was a full-time establishment that they could frequent. “So, I decided to choose a larger store within the Promenade, and here I’ve stayed!”

Lavender Fields provides its own take on a traditional British tearoom with a three-course afternoon tea experience including scones, savories, and dessert. The courses are served over two hours and paired with three different teas. The menu’s most sought-after items are the blueberry-lemon scones and quiche, along with purple rain tea and lavender lemonade.

“The most important thing that I am trying to convey is that life should never be too busy to take tea. I try to impart comfort for guests at Lavender Fields—through food, atmosphere, and conversation. Or, sometimes, no conversation!” Relax, put your feet up on an ottoman, and enjoy a moment of silence. Lavender Fields is reservation only. Three-course private tea events are also available.

Lavender Fields Tearoom

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