Whether or not you are British, a visit to the Tilted Teacup Tea Room in Brooksville offers a pleasurable and leisurely dining experience. At this unique eatery, you can enjoy a cup of tea, along with fresh-baked scones, cakes and a wide assortment of sandwiches, quiche and other fare.
For owner Aimee Gans, who had previously run several businesses while raising four children, operating a restaurant was a new venture.
“With no culinary background and only the desire to serve, I knew if I put my mind and heart into it I could make it work,” Aimee states.
After a year of collecting many antique treasures and creating the recipes, she was able to make her dream a reality with the help of her former husband, Jon. But it took a lot of hard work. They spent four months renovating an old house built in 1914 located at 200 West Fort Dade Avenue. She opened her doors in September of 2012.
“This dream of mine was always in my heart, yet without Jon it may not have become a reality. He was a huge part of this tea room.”
After two years, she was asked to move her business to what used to the Roger’s Christmas House in Brooksville located at 103 South Saxon Avenue. This house, built in 1924, took seven months to renovate. Aimee signed a five-year lease and opened her new location in November 2014.
After almost five years of seeing her business steadily grow, Aimee had a tough choice to make. She knew the landlord would not renew her lease.
“I had to make a decision to either close the business and realize that maybe the season for my dream had came to an end or take a leap of faith and find yet another new home for us. After a lot of praying and encouragement from Jon, I decided to purchase the building at 414 East Liberty Street,” Gans said.
Again, she found herself facing a large renovation project. However, with the help of her family and staff she is accomplishing the task and hopes to open her new location in November. In the meantime, Aimee is still operating her tea room at 103 South Saxon Avenue.
Running a successful business is challenging. Aimee is “hands-on” and is there full time multitasking, from doing the grocery shopping to paying the bills and even doing the dishes when she needs to. But the enjoyment far outweighs the challenges.
“My number one [joy] is the people that I am blessed with meeting and getting to know. They are not only customers, but they have become like family to me. To see someone with tears in their eyes as they say 'Thank you' for an incredible time with us means the world to me.”
Every morning Aimee and her staff bake fresh scones and, whenever she can, she purchases seasonal produce for her delectable creations. Along with tea and other beverages, the tea room serves traditional tea sandwiches, homemade quiche, soups, chicken salads and desserts.
At her current location, there are four dining rooms, each with its own décor. The English Cottage can accommodate eleven; Downtown Parlor can accommodate fifteen; Grandma Helen’s can accommodate twelve; and the Secret Garden can accommodate thirty-six. This large dining room is ideal for group events such as showers, receptions and other private parties. In the near future Aimee is looking to host intimate wedding ceremonies or vow renewals. As with many other restaurants, take-out is also available.
The Tilted Teacup is known for its themed events. These have included a Valentine's theme, Mother's Day theme and a Jane Austen theme. Their next themed event will be a Great Gatsby Murder Mystery on Sunday, October 13. This is a reservation-only event and tickets are on sale now.
If you want to brew your own tea at home, they have regular and decaf teas, as well as a full line of herbal and fruit teas for sale. Tea accessories and gift certificates are also available for purchase.
Recently, the Tilted Teacup had the honor of being one of just twelve tea rooms featured in "Tea & Savories," a new book from the editors of TeaTime Magazine. The book is for sale in their gift shop.
Except for special events, the tea room is open Tuesday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Reservations are not required, but it's recommended that groups of five or more call ahead for seating arrangements.
To find out more about the Tilted Teacup Tea Room call 352-593-4111 or go to their website: www.thetiltedteacuptearoom.com. Be sure to follow them on Facebook for up-to-date information.