One morning in December of 2001 Kelly and I were having breakfast, and somehow we ended up talking about how we both had always wanted to own a restaurant or a cafe. This was one of those ideas that we had both harbored in private, but talking about it and realizing that we shared each other's enthusiasm made us actually think seriously about finding a space and opening a little restaurant/cafe. What made the idea seem even more appealing was that we both had very similar thoughts about what this restaurant/cafe should be like. We agreed that it should be local (What's the point in owning a café if you can't hang out there?). It should be vegetarian but should appeal to everyone (as kelly is a vegetarian and I'm a vegan). It should be clean and bright and contemporary (but not contemporary in a cold and trendy way, contemporary in a clean and simple and lighthearted way). It should be relaxed and comfortable, and we should have two tea-robots as our mascots...
After a month of looking at real estate we found a wonderful space on Rivington street, in the lower east side of Manhattan, quite close to where Kelly and I each live. The space seemed perfect to us because it faced south (sunny!), was close to where we each lived, it was small, and it had a cute little outdoor space in front. So we signed the lease and then i went on tour and Kelly went to work.
It's worth noting at this point that neither Kelly nor I had any restaurant experience up until we decided to open teany. Therefore, as I went on tour, Kelly had to learn everything about opening and running a restaurant. She worked with architects and contractors, distributors and city officials, plumbers and etc etc. She worked incredibly hard, and in all honesty I have to say that the lion's share of the credit for teany has to rest with Kelly. I wish that I could take more credit for teany's aesthetic or it's food, but the truth is that Kelly pretty much did everything while I traveled around the world and played concerts and talked about myself to journalists.
teany opened in May of 2002, and for our opening we had a big party. I couldn't believe that we had actually taken teany from an idea shared over breakfast to a functioning restaurant/cafe. Okay, when I say 'we', I of course mean 'Kelly'. I signed the checks and oversaw everything, but as I said earlier, Kelly pretty much did everything.
When we first had the idea to open teany we also decided that teany should focus on tea. The reason for this is that tea is healthy, tasty, fascinating, varied, and full of history. Not to mention the fact that we both thought that a small space filled with 96 canisters of tea from around the world just seemed like a cool idea.
(And now I can editorialize a bit and say that I love teany. It's bright and pretty and the food is great and the drinks are great and it's my pride and joy and I know it's shameful for me to gush and wax enthusiastic over teany, but I really do love it.)
One of our other goals with teany is to make a vegetarian restaurant/café where even non-vegetarians are happy to hang out. I have great respect for some of the rigidly strict vegan restaurants in the world, but we wanted teany to be a place wherein everyone feels comfortable, regardless of whether they're vegetarian or vegan or carnivore or what have you.
One of my favorite things is when a non-vegetarian comes into teany and has our vegan turkey club with a champagne raspbellini followed by a piece of vegan chocolate cheesecake and says to me, 'Wow, I never knew that vegan and vegetarian food could be so GOOD!'
Thanks for your interest in teany, and we hope to see you here soon. If you need to contact us, we can be reached at (212) 475-9190, or email@example.com. And don't forget - all of our teas, tea pots, and other teany lovelies, available online right here.