Photo by Justin Criado

East Ohio Street in Historic Deutschtown welcomes first full-service tea shop in the city.

By Justin Criado

The chalkboard in Verna Arnold’s new tea shop read “Keep Calm & Drink Tea,” but she couldn’t help but be excited during the grand opening of her own Arnold’s Tea shop at 502 East Ohio St. Thursday morning.

“It’s tea time in Pittsburgh,” she exclaimed after cutting the ceremonial red ribbon.

An old paint store, the renovated 2400-square foot double storefront is now home to Pittsburgh’s first full-service destination tea establishment, which features 30 varieties of loose-leaf tea, a seasonal café menu, afternoon (2-4 p.m.) and high (5-7 p.m.) tea service, unique merchandise, and a slate of tea-related events, including tastings, food pairings and workshops.

“Be they hardcore tea connoisseurs, busy professionals looking to grab a hot beverage on their way to work, people who want to curl up in the corner with a good book or families searching for a bite to eat  before or after church, I’m beyond delighted to welcome everyone to Pittsburgh’s newest eating and drinking destination,” Arnold said.

A retired Pittsburgh Public School teacher and principal, Arnold visited tea cafes during her worldwide travels, and wanted to recreate and translate the Old World camaraderie, quality ingredients and customer service for today’s on-the-go consumers.

Councilwoman Darlene Harris and fellow business owner Barbara Burns were also on hand at the opening.

“Your vision for this space says it all,” said Burns, who is also the president of the Historic Deutschtown Development Corp. “Small businesses and communities are an interesting mix. You have hit a home run.”

Harris has lived in Northside her whole life and recalled how the business district along East Ohio Street used to be a one-stop shop of sorts.

“This business district is coming back to life slowly but surely,” Harris said. “I remember this was the only place we went to shop and with each store opening up we’re going to get (back) there.”

Arnold thanked her family, friends and support, including the Northside Leadership Conference, which helped secure the business space.

“You saw that this was going to be something special, but without the Northside Leadership Conference I would not have been able to do it,” Arnold said.

There will be another soft opening tonight from 4-6 p.m. Regular business hours will start by the end of next week, according to Arnold.

The hours will be 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. -7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

 

20150219_102141Photo by Justin Criado

From left to right: Barbara Burns, owner of Sweet Time cafe and president of Historic Deutschtown Development Corp.; Verna Arnold, owner of Arnold’s Tea; and Councilwoman Darlene Harris cut the ribbon during the grand opening of Arnold’s Tea at 502 East Ohio St. in Historic Deutschtown Thursday morning.