TNT Diner

Good eats and drinks around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

Tea time in Puyallup – British Bites moves to Main, Cosmopolitan Teas takes over T-4-2

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on Nov. 12, 2013 at 6:00 am | No Comments »
November 12, 2013 8:37 am
A "Mini Vicky" from British Bites, a grocery store, cafe and bakery in Puyallup. This sponge cake dessert is a mini version of a British Victoria cake.
A “Mini Vicky” from British Bites, a grocery store, cafe and bakery in Puyallup. This sponge cake dessert is a mini version of a British Victoria cake.

Puyallup is now home to two more tea destinations.

The British Aisle moved its British-themed pantry and grocery store to East Main in Puyallup, renamed itself British Bites and expanded its baked goods and added a menu of light lunch fare to go with its tea.

On Meridian, T-4-2 owner Sharon Swartz sold her downtown Puyallup business in September to husband-wife Shannon and Toni Andersson, who revamped the interior and reopened two weeks ago as Cosmopolitan Tea and Cafe, which they bill as a modern tea cafe.

Here’s a quick look at both businesses.

British Bites
720 E. Main, Puyallup, 253-200-2342, britishbites.net. Open 10-5 Tuesday-Thursday, 10-6 Friday-Saturday and noon-4 Sundays. Closed Mondays.

On Sept. 5, Terri Williams moved from Meridian to East Main, and in the process, doubled her space and offerings for her British themed tea cafe and grocery store.

Shortbread from British Bites in Puyallup.
Shortbread from British Bites in Puyallup.

Her 32-seat bistro style cafe holds a grocery store stocked with British staples – from tea to crisps, British chocolates, candies, biscuits, puddings and favorite items she said will make those from England feel a little less removed from their birthplace. Or at least that’s the case with her. Since starting her business British Bites, she’s felt less disconnected from her native England, which she left in 1991 after her husband was offered a job in Texas. The family moved to Bonney Lake, again for his work, in 2002.

The dining room of British Bites.
The dining room of British Bites.

The newly revamped British Bites is actually a merge of two businesses, growing out of a business on Meridian that Williams managed for T-4-2 owner Sharon Swartz, who operated the tea house and adjacent grocery store called British Aisle. Williams had started British Bites from her home, using a commercial kitchen to produce shortbread for local coffee houses as well as baking for Swartz. Two years ago, Williams took over management of The British Aisle and merged with it her business British Bites. Swartz sold T-4-2 in September and Cosmopolitan opened in its place (read more about Cosmopolitan below).

Now, her East Main store is outfitted with a kitchen and a bakery case holding about a dozen daily pastry selections – from cream and treacle tarts, to shortbread, macaroons and a miniature version of a Victoria Cake that Williams calls a “Mini Vicky” – they’re sponge cakes sandwiched with cream and fillings such as lemon curd or jam. And, of course, the pastry case holds scones. Plenty of tea choices are served alongside pastries in the bistro dining room.

For lunch, there’s a menu of sandwiches and British favorites. She offers cream tea service – that’s a style of tea that includes a pot of tea, a scone and light accompaniments. She has not yet decided if or when she’ll expand to serving a full-range afternoon tea service, but if enough customers request that, she will.

Coming up soon at British Bites is an ode to Dr. Who, the television show that will celebrate its 50th anniversary this month. The week-long celebration begins Nov. 22. Check the website for details.

Cosmopolitan Tea just opened in downtown Puyallup.
Cosmopolitan Tea just opened in downtown Puyallup.

Cosmopolitan Tea and Cafe
105 S. Meridian, Puyallup, 253-445-8454, cosmopolitantea.com. Open 6-6 daily, although hours may change

The lure of owning her own business led Shannon Andersson and husband Toni to purchase T-4-2 in downtown Puyallup, the business that was operated by Sharon Swartz. Andersson, an accountant, is a newcomer to restaurant ownership.

Visitors to the tea shop will be surprised at the amount of change that has occurred since the purchase of the business a month ago. Gone are the antiques and ladies-who-lunch decor. In its place is what Andersson describes as a modern tea cafe. She offers a light lunch menu with housemade soups and a display case holding a light selection of desserts and pastries.

Like T-4-2, she offers tea service, but it’s what she describes as a modern interpretation of tea, not a British style. She serves five different styles of tea service, all beginning after 11 a.m., and priced $7.95 a person to $23.95.

Want just a cup of tea? They serve that too, as well as espresso. Teas are from Market Spice.

TEA TIP

In case you didn’t know – - East Pierce really has become a destination for tea. Also serving tea and light lunch fare in East Pierce is the Secret Garden Tea Room and Gift Shop, at 1711 Elm St. in Sumner. There’s also the Tea Madame tea store at the Windmill Nursery in downtown Sumner.

*
The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for thenewstribune.com. Report violators to webmaster@thenewstribune.com.