Taking time out for tea

Time for Tea — Experience London, no passport required, by visiting The Ploughcroft Tea Room on Commerce Street. Reservations can be made for lunch and afternoon tea, or for larger functions such as church luncheons and bridal showers. Photo credit: Tiffany Edwards

The Ploughcroft Tea Room brings British tradition to America

The Ploughcroft Tea Room is easy to find on Commerce Street. The British flag waving over the sign is a big tip for curious passerby as to what the cozy storefront contains. Ladies share pots of tea and plates of desserts, sitting in the sunlight streaming through the large front windows. Whether the event is a ladies church luncheon or an intimate meeting with a close friend, The Ploughcroft Tea Room offers a quiet, traditional atmosphere for an afternoon tea.

Tiffany Edwards

Owner Patricia Hutto, a native of Dover, England, brought her heritage overseas when she moved to the U.S. in 1969. Hutto owned and operated a British tea room in Virginia Beach for 14 years before she moved to Lynchburg. She then worked as the director of dining services at Sweet Briar College, where she would occasionally host afternoon teas for students and the community.

“The reaction was wonderful,” Hutto said. “(Americans) love the traditional feel.”

The tea room was named after Hutto’s childhood home in England, and is run by Hutto and her daughter Ashley Mahne. The menu includes traditional British recipes, such as Shepherd’s pie, steak-and-ale pie and a Somerset cheese and onion tart. Prices vary from entrees priced under $10, to appetizers and endless pots of tea starting at $8.50 per guest.

“I try to stick with very British recipes to keep and authentic atmosphere,” Hutto said. “The community response to the tea room has been simply overwhelming.”

Hutto’s aim is to bring her guests to another world when they visit her restaurant.

“I want them to walk through the door into a tea room in London,” Hutto said. “I want to bring that piece of British life to them.”

Hutto will host a Royal Wedding Celebration party on April 29, which will include a raffle for a piece of the Royal China.

The Ploughcroft Tea Room serves lunch and afternoon tea, and Hutto requests that guests make reservations. The tea room is closed on Sundays and Mondays for private parties, luncheons and showers. For reservation information and daily business hours, visit their website at ploughcrofttearoom.com, or call 434-832-7467.

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