A British tea parlor and restaurant is opening in the former home of the Green Onion Market in Hamilton.
Emma’s Tea Spot is on track to open Nov. 25 — Small Business Saturday — at 5500 Harford Road, owner Emma Canoles said.
The shop will offer an array of soups and salads, “butties and sarnies” (sandwiches), scones and teas, using authentic British ingredients as well as ingredients from local farms.
Canoles, who most recently developed a vegetarian and nut-free school lunch program for a private school in Fells Point, said opening a tea shop was a dream that began when she was a child.
“I’ve really been thinking about it since I was very young playing a tea shop and developing the idea pretty much most of my life,” she said.
She grew up gardening and foraging in her native Surrey, England, and wanted to provide a place that both connects her customers with the environment and brings her Hamilton neighborhood closer together.
Canoles often got ingredients for her school lunch program from the Green Onion Market in Hamilton, and she leapt at the opportunity to take over the space when it closed this summer.
Emma’s Tea Spot will serve traditional British breakfast and lunch fare, such as bacon butties, the ploughman’s platter (three British cheeses served with a white roll, pickled onions, cornichons, local honey, European butter, apple slices and a side salad) and afternoon tea. Batch Bake Shop in Hamilton developed bread and scone recipes exclusive to the tea shop, she said.
Canoles said initially people who heard about the concept thought it was going to be a “hoity toity” atmosphere catering to “old ladies in funny hats.” While she won’t exclude that group, she wants Emma’s Tea Spot to welcome all sorts of customers.
“Tea’s not very accessible here and it’s not usually done well, so I wanted to be able to provide afternoon teas to boys and men who also like cake,” she said.
Canoles’ husband, Benjamin Canoles, also plans to work at the shop, she said.
Emma’s Tea Spot will also sell British teas, and the shop launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,000 to get the shop’s shelves fully stocked. The Kickstarter has been fully funded, although the crowdfunding campaign remains open until Nov. 21.
When Emma’s Tea Spot opens Nov. 25, it will host a breakfast for other small businesses in the neighborhood, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony before opening to the public.
The shop will also offer a gift-wrapping station for the holidays.
“We’re trying to provide the community with somewhere or something that will get them together,” Canoles said.
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Emma’s Tea spot will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.