It's business as usual at Golden Tea Time as a large party waits to be served.
“My favorite is waiting on the people,” said Linda Russomanno, a server at Golden Tea Time. “The people are so amazing.”
It will be what she misses most …
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It will be what she misses most about the tiny tea café at 908 Washington Ave. — guests who have become like family.
Most of this year has been filled with long goodbyes after owner Jackie Kowal announced that Golden Tea Time will be closing its doors on Sunday, Dec. 21, after nearly 20 years of serving hot tea and homemade food in the community.
“Most of our customers have been longtime friends,” Kowal said.
Golden Tea Time began operating in April of 1995 on a handshake between Kowal, her business partner Pat Austen and the late owner of the small home turned café, Joe Divigil. Austen and Kowal had been renting the old home from Divigil, but after his passing almost six years ago, his daughter decided she would like a chance at owning the property which was given to her by her father.
“It's been my passion and my dream,” Kowal said about Golden Tea Time. “I met my second husband here.”
Pat Austen, who moved to Washington State some time ago, spent the last few weeks in Colorado to reconnect with familiar faces at Golden Tea Time.
“I think it's sad,” Austen said. “We had a lot of fun.”
The café serves not only as a place for friends and family to meet, but also operates as a bistro, with a unique menu designed by Austen and her flare for the culinary arts.
The salmon loaf with dill sauce will be missed, along with homemade meatloaf, salsa and a side of potato slices.
As Kowal stated before, most of Golden Tea Time's customers are returning guests who have come to the café since its opening. Since that time, Kowal, Austen and Russomanno have photographed their treasured guests turned friends with pictures that hang on the café's main wall in the dining room.
Some of the friends displayed on the wall have since passed away, but happy memories linger for not only the gregarious women who have created a homey atmosphere, but for customers who have their own special memories.
“It's just been a place of enjoyment; the food, the friendship the company,” said Becky Cisneros, a long-time patron at Golden Tea Time. Cisneros began taking her mother to Golden Tea Time “many, many years ago” and has never ceased to come in for hot tea and a bite to eat since then.
“This is where I always want to come for my birthday,” she said. “Tea Time has brought my family many precious memories.”
Reservations are required to get a table at Golden Tea Time, and with the pending closure, dates are filling up fast.
Kowal intends to be out of the café by the first of the year. When asked if there are any plans to open up Golden Tea Time at a new location, Kowal simply said no.
“I hope they remember it as a cozy place that they were able to come and visit with their friends or family or to celebrate their special occasions,” Kowal said.
“And treated with kindness and love,” Austen added.
“I'm going to miss everybody,” Russomanno said.
Undoubtedly, a mutual feeling.
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