Since Aug. 14, Bartlett has been home to an elegant venue where people can linger for hours over dainty food and hot pots of tea. The TreeLeaf Tea Room at 2780 Bartlett Blvd. offers traditional British high tea with a Southern twist.
The mother-daughter duo of Stacy Brooks and Morgan Lee, both transplants from Los Angeles, co-own the shop and remain busy with serving their walk-in customers looking for light refreshments and a quiet atmosphere for business or leisurely socializing. TreeLeaf also hosts private events such as birthday parties, baby showers, church groups, book clubs and more.
Mother and daughter also display and sell teapots, fine china teacups and saucers and their hand-crafted items – aprons, dish towels, crocheted purses, handmade Christmas cards and jewelry – from display cases in the back of the tea room.
The atmosphere is unhurried and peaceful, with soft instrumental music, lots of natural light from the big windows, tablecloths, an array of different teapots, and fine china cups and saucers. The owners smile about how their customers relax and linger.
“People come sometimes and they just sit,” Brooks said. “They’re through eating. They’ll sit for about two hours and they just don’t want to leave. They have a good time.”
Lee came to the Mid-South to teach, followed by her mother about a year and a half ago. The business spark came from a chance remark to her mother.
Lee said, “She was baking tea cakes back home, and when she came out here, I was like, ‘Oh, it would be nice if you could bake your tea cakes. It would be nice if you had somewhere to serve them, like a tea room.’ I swear that’s all I said. And in the next few days, she comes in with, ‘Let me show you what I bought.’”
They have both made sacrifices and poured everything they have into the tea room, and they are hopeful that they will thrive as more and more people discover it.
Both say they are loving the South and the warm welcome they’ve received in Bartlett.
“I like this city,” Lee said. “It’s a nice cool city.”
Her mother said she’s enjoying the small-town feel, contrasted with the metropolitan bustle and dog-eat-dog business world of L.A. “People are so nice and friendly here,” Brooks said.
The two are Christians, and they cover their business with prayer. Customers also have touched them by praying for the tea room to thrive. Brooks said they’ve been pleasantly surprised at how Christianity is so integrated into Southern culture and, unlike in L.A., how comfortable people are in talking about their faith.
“I like that,” Brooks said. “I really like that.”
One of her favorite Bible verses, Psalm 1:1-3, has helped guide her in life and in business. The King James version is, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
She knows the verses by heart, and she lingered over them when she and her daughter were trying to come up with a memorable and meaningful business name. “I’m praying,” Brooks said. “I want God to name it.”
She re-read Verse 3 again and was inspired to pull out the words “tree” and “leaf” for the tea room’s name. And the business was born.
The TreeLeaf Tea Room’s tea selection is subject to change, but current offerings include:
- Black teas: Vanilla caramel, white chocolate mocha, India chai spice, orange spice, Earl Gray, English breakfast and pumpkin spice
- Tisane (herbal tea): Cranberry hibiscus, chamomile vanilla, lemon ginger, maple apple cider and lavender lemon.
The menu includes:
- Cream tea (pot of tea and a scone with Devonshire dream and preserves), $5.99
- Light tea (same as cream tea plus an assortment of savories), $10.99
- Afternoon tea (same as light tea plus seasonal fruit and assorted desserts), $16.99
- Kids tea (Mini scone, small serving of fruit, finger sandwiches, dessert and a small pot of tea or hot chocolate), $8.50
- Grab-n-Go lunch plate (to-go only): Finger sandwiches, fruit, chips, and dessert in a to-go lunch box, $7.50
- A la carte: Soup, $3.99; salad, $2.99; pot of tea, $3.95
The savories and sweets selections vary, but a peek at last week’s menu gives an idea of the variety. Savories included turkey/cranberry sandwich with cream cheese, cucumber sandwich, curry egg salad and ham-and-cheese pastry pinwheel. Sweets included mini red velvet cupcakes, pecan sandies and sweet potato pie bars.
Men might look askance at the pretty room and the dainty table settings, but they are surprised to find how tasty and filling the food is and how good the tea is, the two said.
The tea room also offers seasonal items such as a Christmas cookie platter to go, ideal for office, church or club potlucks.
“Everyone that’s come in, they don’t have anything negative to say,” Brooks said. “They love the atmosphere, they love the food. We work hard, because we want to please. That’s my gift. That’s the gift that God gave me: To serve and to please. I want to see people be happy.”