For 25 years, Carolyn Zimmer has owned the Charleston Tea Room & Cafe. In that, Zimmer said it does not feel like a job to her.
“I do feel the gratitude I have for the communities and the customers. It’s not a job to me. I love—to this day, after 25 years—I love coming to the tea room. It’s always going to be an experience. It’s always going to be fun,” Zimmer said. “When it’s all said and done, I can’t imagine me doing anything else.”
Charleston Tea Room has become a fixture in the Friendswood community over the last 25 years. The tea room has catered bridal and baby showers, weddings, funerals and even the Texas Music Fest, which the city hosts every year.
Zimmer said the tea room has seen competition over the years, but it has outlasted it due to loyal customers and consistently high-quality food.
“We have seen competition come and go,” Zimmer said. “But we are the original, and we have been here the longest.”
The tea room’s most popular dishes are its chicken salad, the Charleston Delight and the sampler, which consists of finger sandwiches with a salad, pasta, soup, fruit cup or broccoli salad. These dishes have been with the tea room since it opened in 1994, Zimmer said. The restaurant also serves both hot and iced tea, including its popular raspberry and peach flavors.
While the tea room relies on its standard recipes, it is in the process of adding new ones as well, including a fiesta salad, avocado toast and a caprese salad. While the restaurant will not get rid of its favorites, it does want to have some recipes younger generations are seeking out, Zimmer said.
Even without trendy dishes, the restaurant has seen generations come through the doors and has customers who have been visiting the restaurant since it opened 25 years ago, Zimmer said.
“I think we’re generational. I know we are. We have the grandmas bring in the granddaughters, and the granddaughters bring their children. … That’s been a great thing,” Zimmer said.
Charleston Tea Room
154 S. Friendswood Drive, Friendswood
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Sun.