By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If you walk the streets of certain other neighborhoods – oh, say, Capitol Hill – you’ll notice almost as many teahouses as coffee shops.
Not West Seattle. In fact, we’ve been without a teahouse since The T(ea) Gallery closed in Admiral in late 2007.
But tea lovers, rejoice – something new is brewing. Aimee Pellegrini, a member of La Rustica‘s founding family, is bringing the Tuscan Tea Room to The Junction – along with her thriving business Romanza Floral. She’s getting ready to move into a space in The Junction.
The home-to-be of Tuscan Tea Room and Romanza Floral is a space many have been asking about – 4521 California SW, the portion of CAPERS‘ onetime storefront that the forthcoming Wing Dome is not occupying. (CAPERS, of course, remains alive and well to the south, and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this Thursday night.)
If all goes well, Aimee will be in business in The Junction around mid-September.
“We will have both a dining room as well as a Tea Bar and Flower Bar,” she explains. “I am really excited to introduce our own line of teas that I have hand selected from some of the greatest tea farms from all over the world. I recently went to the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas and found some truly amazing teas to bring back to West Seattle. I favor high-quality fair-trade teas as well as organics and emerging teas. There is so much to the tea world, the education is never-ending. I am working toward a ‘Tea Master’ certification.”
And it’s not just about dropping in for a casual cup of tea: “We will be serving full lunch and ‘Afternoon Tea’ (served all day) as well as crepes, baked goods, fresh bread and cannoli. Yes, cannoli!”
Of course, it’s also about flowers, which have long been Aimee’s specialty: “I have been a full-service event florist for the last 8 years, serving Seattle brides and corporate clients. Our specialty truly is color. You can see from my website that I use a lot of color, and in innovative ways. Our style is European abundance as well as classically elegant. I am looking forward to offering West Seattleites a couture floral alternative.”
Elegance is a word that’s also associated with La Rustica, which she and parents Janie and Giulio Pellegrini started in West Seattle 15 years ago. It’s part of the inspiration for her new endeavor: “They say in life to do what you know to have the most success. The two things I know are the restaurant business and flowers. So, I decided to embrace both and my business plan was born!
“Having grown up at the apron strings of my father and having cooked right alongside him for many years, I am very much looking forward to sharing some great recipes of my own. Also, many know that my father is Italian, but few know that my mother is French, so the debate over where crepes first emerged can finally be laid to rest at the Tea Room. Call them ‘crepes’ or call them ‘crespelle’. They are still delicious!”
One more mention from the upcoming menu: Wine and champagne will be offered too, as well as “specialty tea drinks.” To her future customers, Pellegrini says, “I can’t wait to see you all and welcome you to the Tea Room.”