Crumpets & Tea blends atmosphere with old-world charm

Published 3:33 pm Sunday, July 24, 2011

Karen Shook and Trish Burns are the proprietors of Crumpets & Tea restaurant, located in Heritage Village in downtown Huntington, W.Va.

Nestled in the quaint Heritage Village in Huntington, W.Va., Crumpets & Tea offers much more than the name suggests. The restaurant offers an experience.

Owners Karen Shook and Trish Burns met working together at Huntington’s Berryhill House and Garden and Craft Center. When the owner died and the store closed, the two were wondering what to do next.

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Robert “Jenks” Jenkins had worked at Berryhill House for more than 40 years and quickly set out to open his own shop, doing custom framing. He saw an opening at Suite No. 2 at Heritage Village and took the idea to Karen and Trish.

Together, the two women have a combined 75 years of hospitality experience, with Karen running a tearoom in the northern part of the country for 20 years. It was the perfect opportunity.

Karen had many essentials from her former tearoom that they now use at Crumpets & Tea, including tables, chairs and linens. Much of their other furniture they were able to get when Berryhill closed. The only major change to Suite No. 2 was to build a partition to separate Crumpets & Tea from Jenk’s Custom Framing. Then they were up and running.

Before even entering Crumpets & Tea, the charm of the place grabs you with the vintage look of the garden tables and chairs for outside dining with a view of the plaza.

When you open the door to the tearoom, it takes a minute to fully absorb all of the character and details of the room. Dinner plates, teacups and saucers and teapots of every kind imaginable fill the wall and line the shelving that goes completely around the room. With the high ceiling and simple brass chandeliers, the room is warm, open and inviting. The honey-colored walls provide a neutral backdrop for the numerous decorative focal points.

In addition, many of the items around the room can be purchased. With antique-collecting neighbors, Karen has great help in finding appealing pieces to add to the décor, and a number of these are for sale if diners see something you must have.

Some of the things that are not for sale include Karen’s baptismal gown and two other antique dresses from her childhood, each hanging on the wall and framed by Jenks himself.

The round tables-for-four are draped with table linens and navy linen chair covers. Each table is set with its own teapot of hot water, enabling guests at the table to choose their own individual tea, from Earl Grey to herbal to decaffeinated and Chai tea and much more.

The menu has a few regular items, including chicken salad, chef salad and quesadillas, with the comfort foods and desserts changing weekly. The comfort foods include chicken divine, minestrone soup, and bread pudding one week to spinach tart, potato soup, and pineapple upside- down cake the next.

A lunch is $10 and includes soup, salad, an entree, a dessert and a beverage. Karen said the portion sizes are just enough to fill you up.

“You won’t be taking doggie bags, but you’ll be satisfied,” Karen said.

Crumpets & Tea is open for lunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Booked events can be scheduled after hours or on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This can be anything from bridal showers to bridge groups or just an evening with a group of friends.

There is no party fee and the only requirement is a minimum of eight guests.

They recently started a murder-mystery event they will likely do quarterly with the great success they have had. The space is limited to 48 guests and the last time they hosted one, there were 104 people on the waiting list.

Karen said she hasn’t done much advertising, but depends on word-of-mouth to grow business.

“We are really lucky that we have a lot of loyal people,” she said. “That’s the way I like to do business.

“You come in as guests and leave as friends,” Karen added.

Trish couldn’t be happier with how things are going.

“It’s once in a lifetime, getting to do something you enjoy doing,” she said.