Holly Berry Tea Room: Restaurant owner turns historical house into comforting eatery

Rhonda Karim said her favorite part of owning Holly Berry Tea Room is the customers. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rhonda Karim said her favorite part of owning Holly Berry Tea Room is the customers. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

Rhonda Karim said her favorite part of owning Holly Berry Tea Room is the customers. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Holly Berry’s Tea Room serves a variety of hot and iced teas that are served in vintage tea sets. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The Wild Rose ($1.25) is a sample of several sandwiches—including chicken salad, egg salad and cucumber dill—along with a slice of lemon cake. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Customers sometimes call ahead to reserve rotating cups of soup ($.50) knowing the restaurant sometimes runs out of the popular menu item. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Cake Bites ($.75 each) are bite-sized cake treats that come in a variety of flavors. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Slices of fresh quiche ($0.75) are made daily in the tea room’s kitchen and served with Berry Bliss, a frozen berry- and yogurt-based treat. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Come for the tea, stay for the hospitality.

At Holly Berry Tea Room in League City, tea is in the name, but there are other reasons customers return, owner Rhonda Karim said.

One is the soup. The restaurant’s soups are made fresh, rotate daily and are often coveted, Karim said.

Another is the restaurant’s unique locale. The tea room is set in a century-old house that was transported from the Heights in Houston to League City about 25 years ago, Karim said. The house is filled with unusual and vintage decorations.

“I feel like I belong in this house,” Karim said.

Yet another reason is the staff. Karim said her business would not survive without her workers.

Likewise, Karim’s favorite part of the job is the customers. Karim likes seeing strangers become friends and greeting the same people regularly, she said.

While COVID-19 temporarily shut the restaurant down, Karim is happy to see familiar faces for dine in and takeout now that she has reopened, she said.

Of course, it would not be a tea room without tea.

Karim has dozens of tea sets, many of which are donated by regular customers. When these customers order tea, the staff does its best to serve them with the sets they donated, Karim said.

Karim used to work at the tea room before her old boss retired, and she bought the restaurant about three years ago. Karim comes from a family of restaurant workers.

“It’s in your blood,” she said. “It’s just a passion.”

One final reason customers return is they know what to expect. Karim keeps the menu consistent.

“I don’t change a single recipe, and that’s why they keep coming back,” she said.
By Jake Magee

Editor, Bay Area & Pearland/Friendswood

Jake has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper. Today, he covers everything from aerospace to transportation to flood mitigation.



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