Wednesday, November 18, 2009

East/West Tea Tour: The Tea Grotto

My next-to-last stop on mt tea tour/cross-country move was in Salt Lake City at a charming place called The Tea Grotto. Here's an excerpt from my review:

The Tea Grotto is located in Sugar House, a suburb dating back to the 1850s. From inside and outside The Tea Grotto, it was evident that small business culture was an integral part of the neighborhood. The large space was shared with a small gelateria, which increased the patronage and indie business cred. Tisanes included Ayurvedic and medicinal blends formulated by a local naturopathic doctor. Local regulars streamed in for tea to go, lively discussion with the staff and food that ranged from vegan sweets to a Brie plate paired with Dragonwell.

The food and tea were good, but what really set The Tea Grotto apart was its vibrant warmth. The space – large with high ceilings, whimsical aesthetic touches (including an enormous, colorful tea menu and a lighting fixture made of stemware), free WiFi, local art and plenty of nooks for customers to burrow into – was certainly a factor in the sense of community.

It's rare that I see a tea business that has cultivated such a sense of community. Congrats, Tea Grotto! You can read more about them (and my visit) on World Tea News.


Anonymous said...

Way to go, Tea Grotto, for bringing people together like that. It's always a good thing to be the community in a small town when you're not pouring beer.

VeeTea said...

SLC is an interesting combination of factors. It's actually a rather large city. (The city's population is relatively small, but the metropolitan area is much, much bigger.) The Mormon population is forbidden from drinking and the blue laws are quite restrictive for the rest of the population. Although Mormons don't generally drink tea or tisanes (some exceptions, but generally...), they only account for roughly half the population. In a weird way, tea makes perfect sense.