Break out the tissues, Hudson Valley. Your favorite New Paltz tea shop is getting ready to throw in the towel for good.
In case you don’t follow The Village TeaRoom on Facebook, the longtime Ulster County eatery made a sad, heartfelt announcement to declare that it will be closing its doors this April. The space, which opened on September 1, 2004, lasted far beyond the average lifespan of a restaurant. During that time, it thoroughly embedded itself in the hearts of Hudson Valleyites and visitors to the region alike. It became the place to bring family for cozy dinners, to stop by with friends for impromptu lunches, or to visit for a hot cuppa and a “just because” slice of Honey Bee Cake. It developed just as much of a reputation for delectable Irish fare (ploughman’s lunch, anyone?) as it did for its sweet tooth-approved desserts (sticky gingerbread cake, bakery-style muffins, you name it).
“It’s hard right now to envision a day when I will not be sitting in my third-floor office, inundated with all the comforting fragrances that waft up from the second-floor kitchen,” notes owner Agnes Devereux in the heartbreaking email. She mourns the loss of memories like “brawny Campanelli chickens roasting in a hot oven, sticky gingerbread cake, redolent of cloves and molasses, cookies and scones, root vegetables, and onion gravy all telling the sensory story of the menu through the seasons.”
As the decision-maker at The Village TeaRoom for nearly 15 years, Devereux, who hails from Ireland, became just as embedded into the local dining scene as her restaurant did. A leading culinarian and entrepreneur, she has received numerous awards for her work with the eatery and in the culinary industry as a whole. To name only a few of the numerous accolades, the TeaRoom has received distinguished rankings from TripAdvisor, The Culinary Institute of America, and Zagat, while Devereux herself has garnered praise from Honoring the Hands and, of course, from Hudson Valley Magazine.
When it comes time to say a tea-ry farewell (sorry, we had to), which Devereux will do on Sunday, April 14, she will say farewell to her chapter at The Village TeaRoom, to passionate staff who made their mark on the establishment, and to repeat diners who savored whatever morsels the kitchen delivered that day. She and her husband Dan, who she calls the “unsung hero” of the restaurant, will hold onto their memories of restoring the old house, which many locals still call “The Fairweather House,” and of raising their children amid a bustling restaurant business and supportive Hudson Valley community.
“We have had a wild and beautiful ride,” she observes. “Our children grew up here, steps from Main Street…They hung out in the family room, made friends with the servers, and eavesdropped on the guests.”
While The Village TeaRoom’s closure is an undoubtedly sad occasion, it does come with a silver lining. Once Devereux hangs the “closed” sign for the final time, she’ll begin work on Agnes Devereux Catering, her next local venture. Although catering is nothing new for her, since she already offered catering services for weddings and events through the TeaRoom, this move will allow her to focus on the business wholeheartedly. It will also give her the chance to devote more time to her renovation of an 18th century home in the Valley.
“I’m excited to delve back into my previous work as an interior designer as we start the work on our new home,” she enthuses. She plans to document her new adventures on Instagram @agnesdevereux, so stay tuned!
Will you visit The Village TeaRoom before it closes on April 14? Let us know in the comments!