Tudor Rose English Tea Room in Santa Rosa closing after 10 years
About 15 years ago a family who lived in a small cottage on a hill in England invited Angela Grant for tea. That day, she felt loved and discovered her life’s dream — open a tea room and re-create the same welcoming feeling she experienced in that moment.
That’s exactly what Grant did for a decade. Now her business, Tudor Rose English Tea Room, a welcoming old-time restaurant known for its traditional teatime, 18 varieties of tea, themed events, and dinners in downtown Santa Rosa is closing.
Grant made the decision after dealing with increased operating costs, what she saw as a lack of support from the city, and the challenges of finding staff. The last day of high tea service is Jan. 8.
“This place is more than a restaurant. It means a lot to a lot of people,” Grant, 63, said through tears. “Everyone who comes in feels how I felt that day on the moors, they feel loved.”
Grant, beginning of February 2023, will bring traditional high tea, tea party etiquette and themed dinners to wineries, hotels, and events across the Bay Area as a mobile pop-up event company called “The Tudor Rose Events.”
“We’re heading onto a different train track, but same train and driver!” Grant said.
People experienced special moments in Grant’s tea room — first dates, baby showers, weddings and anniversaries. The tea room staff watched kids grow up and go on to college, and they supported their customers in times of grief.
“We’ve seen life happen, death happen, and all kinds of celebrations,” Grant said. “We’ve been a part of these people’s lives in a massive way.”
Aside from facing an increase in bills, Grant also noticed fewer people coming into the store because of road closures as a result of community events held downtown. She also called the vandalism in front of her business, where her wind chimes were stolen and pots for her plants damaged, “out of control.”
“I experienced so many disruptions to my business,” Grant said. “It was time.”
Virginia Mitchell and Jack Oswald have sipped tea at Tudor Rose for seven years and have spent many birthday and anniversaries there as a couple.
“We’re going to miss it quite a bit,” said Mitchell, 64, who lives in Santa Rosa. “We’ve celebrated the little things and big things in life.”
A new tea room is born
In 2007, in England, after departing the family’s cottage, she learned the tea she had been invited to attend was a fundraiser to build a school playground.
She paid her bill and also donated about $270 for the cause.
“That day changed my life,“ she said.
Five years later in Santa Rosa, she signed the lease for a 3,600-square-foot space on Fourth Street vacated by Sawyer’s News. Her boyfriend, a building contractor, sketched out a design with a kitchen, a tea room and a private space for parties.
Her close friend handed her a check and loaned her $10,000 and said, “I believe in you, you’re going to make it.” Grant had only $48 in her bank account at the time.
Several people told her she wouldn’t last a year. She replied and said, “Oh, yes, I am.”
The tea room goes mobile
Grant will update her mailing list of more than 10,000 people with the company’s upcoming events and updates.
The Flamingo Resort already hired Tudor Rose Events for a New Year’s Eve gathering, she said.
The last day of high tea service will be Jan. 8, with a tea room sale on Jan. 14-15.
“We’re not going away. We’ll continue to spread our magic,” Grant said. “We’re transforming into something different.”
You can reach Staff Writer Mya Constantino at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @searchingformya.
Stories can inspire you, make you laugh, cry and sometimes, heal. I love a feature story that can encapsulate all of those things. I cover the interesting people that exist around us, art and music that move us and the hidden gems that make Sonoma County pretty cool. Let's explore those things together.