SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

August 15, 2012

Not just tea and scones

New manager at Wenham Tea House expands menu, adds patio

WENHAM — Diners at the Wenham Tea House can now enjoy their tea al fresco.

A new, 35-seat patio is one of many changes the Keohane family has made since taking over the historic eatery this winter. The stone patio, surrounded by flowers and plants, opened this month.

The new outdoor space is designed to expand the restaurant’s seating capacity, but also its profile — attracting more than just the “ladies lunch” crowd, John Keohane said.

“It creates a whole other dimension,” Keohane said recently, sitting at one of the outdoor tables.

The Monument Street eatery serves brunch on weekends and breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea Tuesday through Friday.

They hope to attract both men and women with an expanded menu and special events, such as a craft beer dinner scheduled for September, Keohane said. The new menu features daily specials and will change seasonally.

Keohane, who owns Henry’s Market in Beverly, took over the teahouse in February, after the eatery’s previous tenant decided not to renew her lease. His son, Christopher, is operations manager at the teahouse.

Prior to their Easter grand opening, the Keohanes outfitted the teahouse kitchen with new equipment and flooring and installed new carpet, paint and fixtures in the dining room. They also upgraded the water filters and softeners in the basement — imperative for a good cup of tea.

Installing an outdoor patio was part of the agreement when John Keohane signed a lease with the Wenham Village Improvement Society, the nonprofit that owns the teahouse.

A new liquor license was also part of the plan. In February, Town Meeting voters overwhelmingly supported a home rule petition to seek an all-alcohol pouring license for the teahouse. The license has since been awarded to the town, and Keohane said he is in the process of applying for the liquor license. It will need final approval from the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission before the teahouse can begin pouring.

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