GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A spot in Eastown Grand Rapids will soon offer a British high tea experience.

High Tea GR is coming to Wealthy Street near Lake Drive SE in space that used to house Eastown Hookah Lounge. The owner, Melissa Langley, said she is hoping to have a grand opening by the beginning of March.

“We’re going to show people the art of afternoon tea,” Langley said. “High tea is just really an elegant afternoon tea experience.”

High Tea Grand Rapids will offer velvet booths, chandeliers and three-tier trays, along with a retail spot up front. Servers will walk guests through the experience as they enjoy hand-crafted pastries and loose-leaf teas.

High Tea GR is coming soon to Wealthy Street near Lake Drive SE in Eastown Grand Rapids.
High Tea GR is coming soon to Wealthy Street near Lake Drive SE in Eastown Grand Rapids.

TAKE AWAY TEA BOX

People who can’t wait for the shop to open in full can try a take away box, which Langley and her husband are making out of The Bee Side Kitchen just around the corner.

“Construction is taking a while … we’re slowly getting our name out and so we had this idea to generate some interest, some income because startup is pricey,” Langley said.

She said the takeaway boxes offer a sampling of the foods her restaurant will offer when it opens. The box currently contains finger sandwiches, a scone, tiramisu gateaux, a raspberry meringue tart, a pistachio rosewater madeleine and earl gray tea. The boxes will be available for purchase for pickup on Fridays until High Tea GR opens, Langley said.

High Tea GR is offering a take away tea box until until its grand opening.
High Tea GR is offering a take away tea box until until its grand opening.

“We’re very proud of our boxes. We’re getting really good feedback,” she said.

17 YEARS IN THE MAKING: ‘A LITTLE BIT SURREAL’

Langley, a mental health therapist, said she got the idea to offer a high tea spot in Grand Rapids 17 years ago. She grew up overseas in Bangladesh, where, she said, “tea is a big deal.”

“The day is centered around tea at 10, it’s centered around tea at 4. So that started tea for me. I’ve been drinking tea as long as I can remember,” she told News 8.

Her parents, medical missionaries, took her to London often and she has traveled there almost every year over the last decade.

“My dad was about all things British and I think he handed that down to me,” Langley said.

Crews are working on transforming the spot on Wealthy Street near Lake Drive SE into High Tea GR.
Crews are working on transforming the spot on Wealthy Street near Lake Drive SE into High Tea GR.

The community response has already been great, she said.

“We only just were introduced to the community earlier this week and the response has just been amazing. Everybody’s so excited to learn about what this is, to see what it is, to experience it. It’s just been surprising actually,” Langley said. “It’s a little bit surreal to see an idea that I just played around with 17 years ago to come into like, we’re doing it, it’s happening and then everybody else loves it too. So we’re just really excited and really thankful actually for just the support so far.”

As she works to get the location up and running — an effort that depends on construction and supply chain issues — Langley encourages people to try out a take away tea box.

“We would love the community to join us and support us, and have fun with ordering boxes and sharing them around and coming to see what we’re all about,” she said.

More information can be found at highteagr.com or on the High Tea GR Facebook page.