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There's plenty brewing at AntiquiTea Tearoom and Gift Shop

| Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012

Memories likely are to come flooding back when you enter AntiquiTea Tearoom and Gift Shop in West View. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, a nostalgic re-creation of Victorian style that might recall a grandmother's home.

Public tea rooms became popular in late 19th-century England as a nonalcoholic alternative to pubs. AntiquiTea's menu goes beyond the traditional tea and scones, and draws on recipes from owner Patty Knouse's grandmother.

Opening AntiquiTea fulfilled a deferred dream for Knouse.

"I had a son who is autistic, and I couldn't work outside the home. So, I'd invite people over and do an afternoon high tea. They told me I should do it as a business," she says. "I couldn't do it until it was time for him to live in a group home."

In 2002, she took her first full-time job as co-owner of a tea room. Three years later, she decided she wanted to operate her own tea room, and was joined by daughter Nicole Freshwater, who wanted to turn her jewelry-making hobby into an occupation.

The business was a success that outgrew its initial location, a little more than a mile further out on Perry Highway from where it's now located. Knouse's husband Tony did the renovations to the new building starting in 2008; Patty Knouse handled the English country decor.

AntiquiTea is a full-service restaurant that is open midday, five days a week. It offers afternoon-tea parties in large rooms upstairs.

Sandwiches are mostly $8.99, and served on croissants or marbled-rye bread. They are served with a small side salad of fresh greens, shredded mozzarella cheese, almonds and choice of dressing.

Patty's Famous Chicken Salad is homemade, and includes onions and selected fruits and nuts, but she declined to share the recipe. Similarly, she said, her Celebration Tuna Salad uses sweet red and yellow bell peppers, but wouldn't reveal other ingredients or spices.

Other sandwiches include Toasted Panini with salmon, ham, mozzarella and olive spread. The ham and cheese is served on a pretzel roll.

The three entrees, each $9.99, include grandma's recipe for Chicken Cheddar Souffle. "It has layers like bread pudding, with cream soup and bread crumbs and baked until buttery brown," Knouse says. The quiches are made on site.

Desserts are scones ($2) and tea bread ($1.50).

"We always have butter-cream scones but other flavors vary month to month," she says. "Scones are a cross between biscuits and cake. They're very British, except theirs are dry and ours are moist." They are served with clotted cream and lemon curd.

Tea is served by the pot, $1.99 for one; $4.99 to share. Diners have their choice of five classic black teas -- Black Dragon, Darjeeling, Earl Gray, English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast -- or 34 flavored black teas. There are 11 varieties of green tea and 10 decaf teas.

Loose tea also is sold -- $7 for a 2 oz. bag; $7.50 for decaf.

AntiquiTea serves coffee, hot chocolate and iced tea, for $1.99.

The gift shop sells jewelry and tea paraphernalia, such as pots and strainers. Antique items include tea cups and dolls. The shop soon will offer vintage clothing, as well.

Additional Information:

AntiquiTea Tearoom and Gift Shop

Location: 454 Perry Highway, West View

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays

Details: 412-301-0283 or website

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