Dori’s Tea Cottage in Groveland is using its recently completed expansion to cater to more than just tea connoisseurs.
The business now serves breakfast and lunch from its new cafe and deli, and is preparing for its first wine and cheese pairing event this month. The cottage also sells picnic supplies, tea ware, wine accessories and more than 70 gourmet teas from its new retail shop.
“We just really branched out over and above the tea cottage and with that we’ve gotten a lot more local people coming in,” co-owner Greg Jones said.
The expansion, which wrapped up in May, doubled the seating to accommodate 30 customers and made it possible for owners Dori and Greg Jones to begin hosting events. The 40-seat wine and cheese tasting event on Oct. 26 is nearly sold out.
The Joneses enlisted the help of Calaveras County cheesemonger Judy Creighton, who helped them select cheeses for their deli and has put on many cheese tasting events for the Lavender Ridge Vineyard in Murphys.
The owners hope to have a wine and cheese event about four times a year and are discussing plans for a “Cheese 101” class in early 2013.
The tea cottage expanded by taking over a neighboring space that was vacant for more than three years. They made the decision to expand in November, began remodeling around February and opened the new portion on May 22.
The couple felt they needed to offer a wider variety of products and services to bring in new local customers. Yosemite tourists make up most of the cottage’s guests during the summer but locals are the driving source of business throughout the winter.
“It’s so hard to make a living in a small business and we just weren’t really doing as well as we thought we should be doing with just the tea cottage,” Greg Jones said.
The couple opened the original tea cottage in May 2008, after moving to Groveland from the Bay Area. They came across a 1935 house located at 18744 Main Street that was owned by one of the town’s first United States postmasters, Minnie Ferretti, and envisioned it as a tea cottage.
Dori Jones grew up drinking tea with her grandmother during visits to San Francisco and hosted many tea parties while living in San Jose.
Her and her grandmother’s tea cups are displayed in the cottage, and all of the menu items in the tea room are named after women in Dori and Greg’s families.
Greg Jones said the expansion has been a good move for the business and his wife said new customers have been coming through the doors every week.
“We’re trying to attract the locals to see what we have to offer,” she said.