With over fifty blends of premium teas and an ever-changing menu filled with tasty sandwiches and delicious desserts, the restaurant Tea at the Gallery, located at 4501 Kingston Pike, is only a short drive from campus and offers tea and more. This tea room also serves as a clothing boutique and tea shop, but its main highlight is the sultry tea and the elegant food at decent prices.
The location of the tea room is convenient, but not impressive at first glance, as the building is connected to other buildings in a shopping center off to the side of Kingston Pike. However, once getting inside the tea room, the decor is chic and quaint and employees are helpful and kind.
The ambiance that radiated from the tea room was calm and relaxed. Dainty tables, petite cups with saucers and little potted plants adorned each table while tea was served in original, unique pots that only added more character to the service.
Tea rooms are often stereotyped as a place for rich old women to gossip about each other or where British women wear fancy hats, but Tea at the Gallery is actually far from that. The tea room is usually busy with college students studying and older women talking; it is a place for all generations to sit, talk and enjoy a pot of tea.
The menu has dishes that can appeal to anyone's palette, from chicken salad sandwiches to caesar salads to a classic tomato soup, and their special dishes change every few months. Their tea selection is the best in the city, from quirky picks like a chocolate black tea, to seasonal teas like February's Valentine's tea. They have fan favorites such as Earl Grey and English breakfast as well, and all their teas are loose-leaf and are also sold separately in tins.
Having had lots of experiences with tea rooms in the past, it's common to leave one and still feel hungry for more food. Many of these restaurants often served those miniature tea sandwiches, which for anyone with a decent appetite always felt like they were a snack of some sort. When eating at Tea at the Gallery, no customer will leave still hungry. If the menu choices don't impress, opt for a classic, such as the grilled cheese with pesto and tomato sandwich.
The panini-esque sandwich is savory, salty and utterly delicious. Pair this sandwich with their French onion soup and any tongue will be sent to tea room heaven. Finishing each bite with a sip of soothing tea is really the cherry on top of the tea cake. The meal, at a mere $12, definitely doesn't put too much strain on the wallet.
The tea room has many good qualities that make it stand out among other restaurants and locations around Knoxville, although its major disadvantage is its hours of service. They are only open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., which doesn't provide much convenience in terms of time. However, their food and service urges college customers to skip a class and enjoy a quiet, delicious lunch.
Tea lovers looking for inexpensive yet decadent food, Tea at the Gallery is the place for you.