NEWBERRY — The story behind the name for Olwen-McKenna’s Tea Room, a new business in downtown Newberry, gives a nod to one owner’s past — her grandmother, specifically — and the present in the form of her 8-year-old daughter.
Located at 1309 Main St. in the heart of downtown Newberry, owners Suzzanne Westbrook and her niece, Rachel Mayyou, provide a unique dining experience, offering lunch as well as high tea.
Westbrook retired last year and Mayyou has been a stay-at-home mother for the past eight years. The idea to open a tea room originated with Mayyou’s grandmother.
“As a child, I would spend the night with my Grandmother Olwen and we would always have tea. My aunt and I wanted to carry on the legacy of her and Newberry seemed to be a very welcoming town to do so,” Mayyou said. “Our Tea Room is named after my grandmother and my 8-year-old daughter.”
Tea rooms originated in the United Kingdom during the Victorian Era. The British tradition of high tea acts as a transition between meals and is usually served between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Olwen, Mayyou’s grandmother, is originally from the country of Wales in the United Kingdom.
“My grandfather was in England as a U.S. solider during World War II where he met my grandmother and was married. Olwen came to the United States on a war bride ship without her husband. She then lived with his family who she had never met before,” Mayyou said.
According to uswarbrides.com, thousands of foreign women married United States military personnel during and after World War II. The U.S. Army’s “Operation War Bride” helped transport soldier’s foreign wives and children to the United States where they would become citizens.
At first, Westbrook and Mayyou had only planned to serve high tea but after such a great reception from Newberry, they decided to serve lunch.
Janice Weakland of Newberry said Olwen-McKenna’s Tea Room provides another option for dining.
“It is really nice having another option in downtown Newberry for dining,” Weakland said. “It’s sometimes very hard to find places that are open in Newberry for lunch on Monday and Tuesday, so it’s great that they are. It is also very nice to have another storefront in downtown that is filled.”
Mayyou said she and her aunt will eventually only serve high tea but “as long as there is a high response to our lunch we plan to continue offering it.”
Westbrook and Mayyou said they are trying to make their tea room grow and are focused on staying exclusively in Newberry for right now.
“If it starts spreading our wings more, we might open another tea room,” Mayyou said.
Olwen-McKenna’s Tea Room is unique as compared to a traditional sit-down restaurant for lunch. They require reservations as well as 24-hour notice for high tea. Lunch, on the other hand, is open to walk-ins.
High tea consists of one’s choice of tea, a salad, a scone, and a three-tier tray consisting of various types of food. Fruit is served on the top tier, followed by sweets on the middle tier, and sandwiches on the bottom tier. High tea is $24 a person.
Some of the teas they offer are Lemon Ginger, Vanilla Spice, Chai, Pumpkin Spice, Earl Grey, and Prince of Wales Black Tea.
Call 803-597-5298 or 843-318-2053 for more information about the restaurant or to make reservations. They can be found on Facebook at OlwenMckennastearoom/