An afternoon of pampering at Special Effects Salon in Greenport just got a little more enjoyable. The full-service salon and spa recently opened the Special Tea House to compliment services provided by owner Debbie Schade and her daughter, Victoria, at the Main Street storefront.
The pair launched the 49-seat indoor/outdoor café in the spring, serving specialty teas paired with light bites such as classic cucumber tea sandwiches and North Fork lavender shortbreads.
Veteran beauty expert Debbie, who founded Special Effects 30 years ago, said she’d never dreamed of getting into the food service industry, but several years ago saw an opportunity for her clients who were looking to enjoy light bites with their services.
The Special Tea House is now open to clients of the salon and those who want to sip tea and spend time with friends. Debbie said the business is a natural extension of the salon, which she said was always designed to give clients a full relaxation experience.
“I got the idea three or four years ago when groups of women would come in and then go to [the now defunct] Greenport Tea Company,”Debbie said. “When they closed, I got more serious about the idea.”
Debbie previously rented out the space attached to the salon and when former tenants decided not to renew the lease, she knew the timing was right to convert the space into a tea room. Victoria, who has worked at several local restaurants, gave her mom the confidence she needed to expand.
“I was scared,” Debbie admitted. “But Victoria said, ‘Mom don’t worry. We can do this.’ I have been in the spa business for 30 years and it is exciting to be in the tea business too.”
Each of the menu items are prepared daily by veteran baker Martine Berliere. The offerings consist of Berliere’s tried-and-true recipes as well as traditional English recipes passed down from the Schade family.
“Martine was the perfect fit,”Debbie said. “Before I decided to do this, I called her to make sure she’d be on board. She is so talented. It is a privilege to serve her food.”
Other menu items include Martine’s apricot ginger scones, chocolate dipped biscottea and seasonal chicken salad tea sandwiches — many of which are gluten free.
The tea room is open Thursday through Sunday and the Schades hope to expand the hours in the coming months.
Special Tea House is located at Special Effects Salon & Spa at 455 Main Street in Greenport.