BELLAIRE, Texas – Hankering for a good afternoon tea? Here’s a local tearoom that’s serving it with a Texan twist. McHugh Tea Room & Gifts was the first tea room to open in Bellaire, Texas. Owner, Kim McHugh, shares how she started the family business, and how they’re blending southern charm with tea tradition.
“I’m a Certified Tea Blending Master,” said McHugh. “I love doing the blends, and I love figuring out flavor profiles. It’s fun, but [people] had no place to pick it up.”
The business started with McHugh’s online tea store True Leaf Tea Company, which boasts a wide variety of high quality loose leaf tea blends. The birth of the tearoom followed soon after with a little help from McHugh’s mother.
“I developed this with my mother who makes pie and everything else. Most of the recipes here are over 100 years old, and I was served as a kid by my grandmother,” said McHugh.
The food menu includes afternoon tea classics like cucumber sandwiches, scones and an array of stunning sweets. Though unlike traditional tearooms, portions are not dainty and many items are uniquely southern, like there Southwest Quiche with pulled pork, Pepper Jack cheese, corn, cilantro and bell pepper. McHugh has also experimented with tea-infused foods including matcha brownies and black tea blackened chicken.
“I like when they come in hungry, and they leave happy,” said McHugh. “This is not a British tearoom, or an Asian tearoom or anything like that. It’s supposed to be like, ‘If you like tea, come on down!’”