Hittin’ the Town: Maumee business is “steeped” in history

Clara J’s Tea Room has been serving up tasty tea and fabulous food since 2005.
The tea room sits along a quiet Maumee street. Inside the nearly 200-year-old building, you’ll find a tea for everyone’s taste.
Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 12:06 AM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - There are plenty of places to get a good cup of coffee around town, but what about a space for those who are partial to tea? Clara J’s Tea Room in Maumee serves up all kinds of tasty teas, fabulous food and hosts special events, too.

The tea room sits along a quiet Maumee street. Inside the nearly 200-year-old building, you’ll find a tea for everyone’s taste.

Gretchen Fayerweather, the owner of Clara J’s, said they provide pots of tea for all guests.

“We brew pots of tea for every guest. They sit at a table with linens. Our silverware is real silver. The china is vintage and so are most of the teapots. We take you back to a time where instead of fast food, there was slow food,” she said.

Fayerweather is a chef by trade, and food is also a big part of the Proper Tea experience here.

“We serve four days a week with two different seating times. You start with scones, then there are nine different little bites of savory sandwiches and sweets. We also serve a full-menu lunch. You can come in and have hot tea, iced tea, scones, sandwiches, entrees, and the works,” Fayerweather said.

The tea room is a place for everyone of all ages.

“We’ve had five generations of one family at one table. We had a 101-year-old birthday last summer, and then a couple days later we had a couple bringing in their 5-day-old baby because this is the place where they started their journey dating and they wanted us all to meet her. We love that this is a place for the young and the young at heart,” Fayerweather said.

It’s a chance to enjoy good tea, good food and good company.

“It’s nice to be able to sit with friends and not have the phone go off or emails coming through and just enjoy your time together,” Fayerweather said.

Many of the guests come to Clara J’s dressed to the nines.

“We have ladies who come in wearing hats, gloves, and fascinators. Little girls come dressed as their favorite princesses. But you don’t have to dress up. Everyone is treated to a fine tea experience,” Fayerweather said.

As you might imagine, there are proper ways to enjoy a cup of tea.

“The only thing that should go on your saucer is a spoon. Another thing that is important when you go to a tea, never pour your own tea, you pour tea for others,” Fayerweather said.

So what does it take to brew the perfect cup of tea? It is truly an art form that comes down to timing and science. Some like their tea on the lighter side, while others want a strong cup.

“Depending on the tea you choose, the timing is different and the amount you put in is different. It takes time to learn how to brew tea and what tea you like, Fayerweather said.

There are all kinds of choices here.

“Every month we have about 30 teas and we usually feature a couple teas every day. Some people like small pots, others like large pots. Some people will have a large pot just for themselves. We also have about 150 loose teas we can brew at any point,” Fayerweather said.

In addition to lunches and Proper Teas, Clara J’s hosts events.

“Once a month we have a special event. We have different themes. We’ve had Harry Potter, Willy Wonka, Alice in Wonderland-themed events. We also do special teas connected to movies like Downton Abbey. Our staff dresses up and we all have a wonderful time,” Fayerweather said.

Whether it’s a grand event or a simple afternoon tea, it’s all about creating a special experience for people.

“I love to see our guests enjoy themselves whether it’s the tea, the food or the ambiance. That is my favorite thing at the end of the day,” Fayerweather said.

Clara J’s Tea Room is at 219 West Wayne Street in Maumee.

Fayerweather said many guests take a couple of hours to sit and sip their tea and enjoy their meal.

Lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday 11-3. Proper Teas are served Wednesday through Saturday at 11 and 1:30. Reservations are needed for the Proper Teas.

To learn more, click here.

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