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Meet Pamela Brand of Pamela’s Tea Room in Garden Grove

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pamela Brand.

Pamela, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I visited Los Angeles and stayed with friends in 1970 – and decided this is where I wanted to be!

I attended culinary school in Sheffield, England (where I lived) and knew in my heart that I would move to Los Angeles or Orange County one day and open an authentic, English eatery or a tea room.

It took me another 25 years to raise my son and daughter in England before I was able to realize my dream – which made it all the sweeter when I finally arrived!

I traveled far and wide looking at existing Tearooms from Santa Monica to San Diego and when discussing my plans with the owner of a small tea room in Seal Beach, she asked if I would like to work for her, making my English ‘specialties,’ as I like to call them: scones and Cornish Pasties and dishes like Shepherds Pies, Quiche, Bangers & Mash, and of course ‘genuine’ Tea Sandwiches. I accepted her invitation, but told her it would only be temporary until I found a location of my own which I did the following year, in the city of Orange, in Orange County. My life-long dream was realized when I opened “PAMELA’S TEA ROOM.” on Mayfair Avenue in February, 1994. A whirlwind of happy activity followed, meeting some very wonderful people, winning Blue Ribbons for my scones and Pasties, cooking and waiting on my guests and friends!

When the building was sold and I was asked to leave a short two years later – it nearly
broke my heart!

But I come from hearty Sheffield stock- with a ‘never give-up’ attitude, I found this wonderful place on Valley View Street in Garden Grove – right off the 405 and 22 freeways – that had the room I needed for a comfy tea room – and enough room for an English store as well! I’ve been here for nearly 20 years now, loving every minute. Many of the customers from my Orange tea room stop by – like long-lost friends!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is one thing to study English culinary arts- and then try to put them in practice over 6,000 miles away within your first actual business! Not only did I have to make major adjustments emotionally (without my grown children) starting a new life in California, but piled on top of that I was trying to start a business on my own even though I’ve never run a business before of any kind.

Many mistakes were made along the way as well as not-so-good business decisions, but the Sheffield girl inside would not let me quit – even though many times I thought about tossing it all in and moving back to England.

Tried and true friends kept me going during the hard times – both emotionally and financially. Friends that opened their hearts to a middle-aged woman with a funny accent. Friends that would, on a very bad day, love and comfort me like a part of their family. Without this caring support, I never would have made it thru. Also, having the best help possible got me through many ‘bumps.’

Pamela’s Tea Room – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Pamela’s Tea Room (and store) speaks for itself. We use and sell specialty teas and even have our own blend of exotic tea. We recently hosted a very special tea tasting party featuring the most expensive Darjeeling tea in the world! The tasting was a complete sell-out. Just for fun, we host an occasional tea leaf reading party and other fun events that people love. The “Pamela Players” occasionally put on a dinner play often featuring an abridged Agatha Christie mystery.

While serving traditional ‘Afternoon Tea” and “High Tea” with an origin that dates back over a hundred years, we like to serve a wide variety of English origin foods that please the pallet and fill the stomach – Shepherds Pie (potatoes and meat) Bangers and Mash (English sausages and mashed potatoes) our home-made scones and Cornish Pasties and our specialty soups and stews like Stuffed Cabbage soup, Acorn Squash, Ox Tail stew and many more – not to mention our famous “Toad-In-The-Hole” and English Stuffed Pancakes and popular “Ploughman’s Lunch.” We have a “Princess Tea” for our young princesses just starting out, or a Princess Tea Party – with an actual Princess that reads stories and answers questions.

We are often asked to cater special events; women’s clubs, bridal showers and birthdays – One I remember, was for close to 200 people!

Every day is special for us as is everyone who walks thru our door.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Owning and operating Pamela’s Tea Room on Valley View St. I am especially proud of all my help at the tea room and store, especially when I was very ill. They are super great – not to mention all my repeat customers!!

Pricing:

  • Fresh Quiche (various selections) and English salad: $8.50
  • Afternoon Cream Tea ( tea, sandwiches, fresh scones, etc.): $19.50
  • English meat Pie (potatoes, veggies): $10.00
  • Princess Tea ( children 12 or under -sandwiches, scone, etc.) $12.50

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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