“I married a Scotsman from Glasgow, and he was drinking 11 cups a day, and I’m Googling ‘death by tea’ because I thought there wasn’t any way he could survive by drinking that much,” McHugh said. “I came to find out he’s probably going to outlive us all.”
After learning more about tea and leaving a career in pharmaceuticals, she decided to open up a tea room in Bellaire and had over 400 people come to the grand opening in August 2013.
“I was doing tea talks and learning more about this, and when I lost my job with the company I was working with, this just sort of came to life,” McHugh said. “Thankfully, there was a very big embrace by the community. I don’t even have the words for it—I was just so grateful.”
Along with the multitude of salads, sandwiches, quiches and desserts on the menu at McHugh’s Tea Room is a tea list of over 60 varieties, including different types of white tea, green tea, black tea, matchas and caffeine-free teas.
The different teas are available to purchase by the pot or by the bag to go, along with tea cups, sets, instructional books and a lot of other tea-related merchandise at the front of the restaurant.
After six years of business, McHugh said one of the most rewarding aspects of running the restaurant is the kindness of her customers, and she said her customer base is full of cultural diversity and a slew of regulars who all come to enjoy the atmosphere and community available at the tea room.“There’s something about tea drinkers. ... A lot of these people come in from different cultures, different religions and different everything, and everybody is talking to each other,” McHugh said. “I’ll have a table over here playing Mahjong and then another three tables away having a Bible study group, and they’ll stop and talk to each other, and they’re so kind to each other.”
McHugh Tea Room & Gifts
5305 Bissonnet St., Ste. D, Bellaire
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-4 p.m.