Emma’s Tea Spot is opening in Hamilton
Traditional British fare served without hoity-toity attitude
A British tea parlor and restaurant is opening in the former home of the
The shop will offer an array of soups and salads, “butties and sarnies” (sandwiches), scones and teas, using authentic British ingredients as well as ingredients from local farms.
Canoles, who most recently developed a vegetarian and nut-free school lunch program for a private school in Fells Point, said opening a tea shop was a dream that began when she was a child.
“I’ve really been thinking about it since I was very young, playing a tea shop and developing the idea pretty much most of my life,” she said.
She grew up gardening and foraging in her native Surrey, England, and wanted to provide a place that both connects her customers with the environment and brings her Hamilton neighborhood closer together.
Canoles often got ingredients for her school lunch program from the Green Onion Market, and she leapt at the opportunity to take over the space when it closed this summer.
Emma’s Tea Spot will serve traditional British breakfast and lunch fare, such as bacon butties, the ploughman’s platter (three British cheeses served with a white roll, pickled onions, cornichons, local honey, European butter, apple slices and a side salad) and afternoon tea. Batch Bake Shop in Hamilton developed bread and scone recipes exclusive to the tea shop, she said.
Canoles said initially people who heard about the concept thought it was going to be a “hoity toity” atmosphere catering to “old ladies in funny hats.” While she won’t exclude that group, she wants Emma’s Tea Spot to welcome all sorts of customers.
“Tea’s not very accessible here and it’s not usually done well, so I wanted to be able to provide afternoon teas to boys and men who also like cake,” she said.
Canoles’ husband, Benjamin Canoles, also plans to work at the shop, she said.
When Emma’s Tea Spot opens this weekend, it will host a breakfast for other small businesses in the neighborhood on Saturday, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony before opening to the public.
The shop will also offer a gift-wrapping station for the holidays.
“We’re trying to provide the community with somewhere or something that will get them together,” Canoles said.
Emma’s Tea spot will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The restaurant has been closed since July 2016, when record floods swept through the town, destroying businesses and killing two people.
Located at 8085 Main St., Portalli’s underwent a full renovation — the foundation was replaced, the building was reinforced and the interior was gutted, owner Evan Brown said. He estimated renovations cost at least $1.2 million.
Brown said he’s working to bring back as many of the previous staff members as possible. Keith Holsey will continue to serve as the restaurant’s chef.
Portalli’s will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday.
As the owners — Neff; her husband, Rob Neff; and their friend Steve Marsh — have waited to get their taproom up and running, they have teamed up with other local breweries and wineries to create collaboration beers during the course of the year, including
Back in Baltimore, Checkerspot will soon begin pouring concrete floors and installing its 15-barrel brewhouse. The brewery aims to produce 1,000 barrels in its first year. When the taproom opens, Neff said, Checkerspot will regularly carry eight or nine beers on tap, plus one or two cask beers. The space will also include a kitchen.
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