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Business // Entrepreneurs
Alana Folen

Relaxing In A Victorian Tea Room

(from left) Darlene Pahed, Heather Garalde, Jocelyn Pacheco and Karen Kralovansky. Photo from Darlene Pahed

Here’s a toast to tea parties at A Cup of Tea Restaurant & Boutique, the award-winning venture started in July 2008 by owner Darlene Pahed.

Located in Kailua, A Cup of Tea is a Victorian tea room that focuses on an impressive array of 32 freshly steeped teas from across the globe. Teas are then complemented by freshly baked scones and homemade clotted cream and lemon curd, not to mention a complete menu that includes healthy soups, salads, finger sandwiches and sweet delights for dessert.

“My decision to open a tea room stems from my enjoyment of freshly steeped teas served in my home over the years and my visits to many tea rooms throughout the U.S. and internationally. I have always admired how these tea rooms serve tea, and the ambiance and experience of it all,” says Pahed, who is one of two tea sommeliers in the state and has extensive knowledge in the retail and customer service industry, having owned a bridal salon in Hawaii for 15 years.

When you enter this majestic tea room, you are quickly transported back in time to the late 1800s.

Servers, also known as “chambermaids,” sport mop caps and aprons, and you are encouraged to leave your troubles at the door.

“We offer a place for our guests to unwind,”

Pahed says. “We believed that if we built and managed the tea room correctly, guests would come.”

Today, you’ll find A Cup of Tea flourishing with excited guests ready for a few quiet moments with a tea party. Currently, A Cup of Tea is decked out in the spirit of the holidays, with exquisite Christmas trees decorated to the nines with ornaments available for purchase.

“We always change with the seasons. After the holidays, we decorate the tea room for Valentine’s Day with hearts and angels, and after that it’s time for Easter, and then we do a beautiful Mother’s Day and summer motif. Each season we have more and more people coming in,” Pahed says, adding that she does all the decorating herself.

A Cup of Tea also is able to host many special events, such as scheduled pajama parties, movie nights, bridal showers, birthday parties, etiquette classes and more.

A private room, named Royal Palace Suite (referred to as “Nutcracker Suite” this time of year) can accommodate smaller parties as well. For example, small weddings can take place in the Royal Palace Suite with the reception to follow in the main dining room.

“I travel twice a year to purchase various products and to gain inspiration for our boutique and tea room,” Pahed says. “Our boutique, which is not much bigger than a bedroom, offers beautiful gifts (many of which are not found in the Islands) such as collectable dolls, stationary, candles, jewelry, broaches, teas, tea items, cookies and more. Homemade salad dressing also is available for purchase.

“Serving our guests is the most important task of our tea room. What’s made us successful is our ambiance, great food and superior service,” Pahed says.

“Here, we don’t just serve tea, it’s an experience and the tea just comes along with it.”

A Cup of Tea is located at 407 Uluniu St. No. 101, and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. But in November and December, it is open daily. For more information, call 230-8832, go to acupoftea.com or email acupofteahawaii@msn.com.

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