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Change in the Tearoom

Posted on: November 13, 2017

We started The BonBonerie in 1983… 34 years ago.

Recently I read a wonderful insert from the Sunday paper reintroducing Cincinnatians to our beloved Arts Institutions and the tremendous changes most of them have undertaken or will be taking in the near future.

I love Ensemble Theatre and have been a subscriber for years. Very early on I remember walking briskly to our car after a late Saturday night production knowing after dark; it could feel a bit sketchy down there. Another night a group of kids threw a rock at our car as we drove away, breaking a window. But that was a long long time ago and so much has changed except for the fact that I still subscribe each season to Ensemble Theatre. There will be changes when I attend the first play of the new season. The old theatre celebrated imagination with a tight budget to create each production. I liked the fact that great performances did not need the fanciest theaters to be great theatre, but I know having a larger, better space will open opportunities that true grit cannot always accommodate.

It was that same theme that ran through the insert and its description of the renovated Music Hall and how its new modern digs will bring performances that would otherwise not have been able to happen in the old space.

There is the magnificent Memorial Hall, a treasure that makes listening to music in that jewel like acoustically sensitive space stupendous.

And then there is The BonBonerie. Our building was built in 1905, not unlike some of the places I have spoken of. We have cobbled together with the utmost imagination we could muster a whimsical experience for our beloved and loyal customers. You have had to put up with any number of inconveniences that an old building burdens you with along with the charm. I am not sure that many of you know, but we have even melded two different landlords together to bring our present tearoom to you through the bakery door. That space holds so many memories of the fondest sort for so many of you as it does for us.

It was 25 years ago that coffee madness burst on the scene. Mary Pat and I were old familiars to the tearooms of downtown Cincinnati, and so decided to buck the coffee trend and open a tearoom similar to our childhood haunts. For years after that every birthday and Christmas teapots became the go to gift for me from everyone I knew. So I filled up that Irish cabinet, originally purchased from our neighbor at English Traditions with teapots from around the world. Pretty soon Mary Pat discovered Ebay and we would receive a delivery or two each month of fanciful cat teapots until we couldn’t find anymore. They are now in the Cafe.

The kitchen in the tearoom was moved to four different places in that same tiny space. Each time we would hope it would somehow seem bigger or more efficient. That was wishful thinking. But the more crowded it got the more you, our equally whimsical and lovable customers would embrace it. Anne Reilly, who is now our early morning barista in the Cafe was a witness to all of our magical thinking as she managed the old tearoom for years.

I guess you can see where this is going. We have squeezed every ounce out of every square inch of our space, but the time has come for us to make some changes for a better future for you and for our staff.

So ………………. we are moving the tearoom to a beautiful new space that was Design on Madison, which is adjacent to the Cafe on Madison Road. They were fabulous tenants to have inherited a space from as they already had created a warm and lovely space which will translate into a charming spot for you to have tea parties as well as other events. We promise all the pots and English clutter will find its way down there too.

Please give us a chance to make it just as fanciful and charming as the old one. We think it may be even better eventually.

Just so you know the old tearoom will become a badly needed space for our customer service staff in the bakery to store and fill orders and provide our wholesale manager Pat Ryan a consistent space to pick up his orders for delivery right out the door of the old tearoom and into the van.

I know many of you will be heartbroken, but please try to have faith in us to make another space for you to enjoy. Remember the tearoom was once a taxi garage, the bakery was a bicycle shop and the cookie department was an exercise studio. Things change. That is sometimes the only truth I have witnessed. The insert in last weeks paper helped me find a way to share our changes with you……for a more interesting future for us all.

 PS We will be having an open house that you will be invited to. Please send tracy@bonbonerie .com an email to be included in the party’s announcement. We will be giving away teapots, fresh brewed tea, a gift certificate tea parties for two and perhaps some memorabilia from the old girl.

Thank you for your deep affection for the Tearoom. If you have a story to tell us about it I would love to hear from you. My email is Sharon @bonbonerie.com

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