Wenham Tea House
“When it comes out, it’s an impressive plate. And it’s delicious.”
Big Burgers and colossal sized cakes.
“It’s so impressive. It’s like a chocolate cake wall.”
Overloaded chowders and piled up potato chips.
“It’s gooey and delicious and crispy.”
It seems big things are happening at The Wenham Tea House.
Located in Wenham, Massachusetts the Wenham Tea House is a local institution known for its high tea service.
“Wenham Tea House is the oldest operational tea house in the country. I think they poured their first custom like 1912. It’s an old building, and you kind of get that feeling right away. The biggest thing that we get from people is how people have been coming here that are now grandparents that came here with their grandparents. So that’s most of my conversations with people in here. Oh my god, I came in when I was a child. It’s special”
That’s operator Brendan Crocker, who most recently took over the space with his wife Milissa Oraibi. They certainly kept the tea, but they also added brunch, lunch, and dinner service to the quaint spot that has everything from a cozy dining room, an outdoor patio on their gorgeous grounds, and a gift shop.
“Everything that we do, my wife and I do by ourselves, and we work hard and we we try to You know, do the right thing and give people really good food and really good service. I enjoy coming to work every day. I like to play with food. I can’t imagine having a job where I didn’t get to cook food all day and talk to people.”
The real star of the Wenham Tea House menu is of course, High Tea- offered on Friday and Saturday afternoons.
“High Tea is afternoon tea service. It’s typically on a three tiered tray, and the tray is filled with savory and sweet treats, scones. We have these really cool teapots. I’ve always referred to stuff like high tea like fufu food, but once I started doing it, I was like, wow, this is so neat. It’s neat to have that much variety on one plate. And having done tea a few times, it’s really a neat way to eat. It’s an interesting experience and we love it.”
During lunch and dinner service, Wenham Tea House has a variety of appetizers- from the elegant Tuna Tartare served over house made chips with carrots and cucumbers drizzled with Asian aioli. Or try the indulgent house made potato chips- perfect for sharing.
“They’re nice thick potato chips. We fry them and then we mash them with lots and lots of cheddar cheese and bacon and then a big glob of sour cream on top of it. Most people get it like as a just not even an app just sort something on the table while they’re thinking about what they’re gonna have for app.”
Something you’re going to want all for yourself is a bowl of the seafood chowder- a truly unique dish using whatever is fresh off the boat that day.
“When we started doing chowder we wanted to just be a little bit different so we add lots and lots of bacon when we start it. And then we use sweet potatoes. And then we cut and toast corn. The sweetness from the potatoes and the sweetness from the corn and the sweetness from the bacon. It looks like chowder, but it’s a completely different experience.”
From there, you can choose light options like the Faroe Island Salmon, served over rice noodles with vegetables in a sesame ginger dressing to the Wenham Tea House amped up take on a Big Mac.
“Who doesn’t like a Big Mac. It’s different. Our beef was all humanely raised. And the nice big brioche bun we toasted and butter, shredded lettuce. It’s right up there as one of our top sellers, I would say.”
Carnivores will also want to dig into the simple but scrumptious Steak Frites.
Or the Boneless short rib braised slowly with apricots and served over couscous. And seafood lovers will want to get into some seared scallops served in an apple pan sauce with risotto and bacon for the ultimate mashup of sweet and salty.
“The sauce is just reduced apple cider. And it’s just an all around flavor explosion, if you get the right bite with the cider and the bacon and the apple and the risotto and it’s really nice. You can taste it up here.”
You’ll want to save room for desserts like the Triple Berry Bread Pudding- topped with a maple bourbon sauce and you’ll definitely need to save room if you order this towering Chocolate Layered Cake.
“It’s 12 layers. A lot of people just get it so they can take a photo of it because it’s so tall on the plate. When it comes out and you know a lot of our clientele aren’t expecting such a giant piece of cake but it’s impressive.”
On Sundays, Wenham Tea House offers an outstanding brunch with creative takes on breakfast classics- like this Mexican take on Eggs Benedict featuring a quesadilla stuffed with chorizo and cheese topped with an over easy egg smothered in a roasted jalapeno hollandaise. There’s Challah French Toast stuffed with a brown sugar cream cheese filling, and topped with candied pecans and cinnamon maple syrup. And one of THE most over the top Avocado Toasts around. Topped with guacamole, pickled onions, heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese, this dish is as pretty as it is delicious.
“It is just a gorgeous crown of bread and avocado. It’s beautiful.”
And with ever present owners on site from lunch to dinner, high tea to brunch, you’ll feel at home at The Wenham Tea House.