Tea lovers can now celebrate special occasions and enjoy high tea with friends at one of Princeton’s newest businesses, Tipple + Rose Tea Parlor and Apothecary.
Located at 210 Nassau Street next to Viburnum Florist and St. Paul’s Church, Tipple + Rose opened in October, offering retail tea items, bath and body products, gifts, and catering. On Thursday, the owners of Tipple + Rose celebrated their grand opening and the new dining area of the tea parlor with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The owners of Tipple + Rose, Princeton residents Doria Roberts and Calavino Donati, first ran a tea parlor back in Atlanta, where they also operated a deli and another restaurant. The tea parlor, known for hosting elaborate tea parties with themes such as Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland, was a huge hit. Travel and Lesure magazine ranked Tipple + Rose the third best place for U.K.-style high tea in the United States.
Roberts, a singer, songwriter, and baker, was born and raised in Trenton. Her first job as a teen was working at the Garden Theatre in Princeton. After she graduated from Princeton Day School, she attended the University of Pennsylvania. Her pursuit of music took her around the world to perform on stages all over the U.S., Europe, Australia, Canada, and Japan.
Calavino, who is originally from Wisconsin, opened her first restaurant in 1996 and named it the Roman Lily Cafe, after her grandparents. She became known for her pursuit of the perfect comfort food and developed successful restaurant concepts in the Atlanta area, where she met Roberts. The two eventually fell in love and married. In 2008, after nearly 15 years on the road as a musician, Roberts semi-retired to become a baker and run restaurants with Donati.
Roberts and Donati decided to move from Atlanta to New Jersey for personal reasons just before the pandemic began. After Roberts’ mother had a stroke and heart attack in the spring of 2019, she traveled back and forth between Atlanta and New Jersey until it became difficult to sustain. She and Donati debated keeping the shop open in Atlanta and running their business from afar but ultimately decided to relocate the tea parlor to New Jersey.
When the couple decided to move, they searched in vain for the perfect space in Princeton that would accommodate both their tea parlor and retail shop, but nothing suitable was available. “We wanted something that was nice enough for high tea but casual enough where people could come in and get a pot of tea and scone too,” Roberts said.
Donati and Roberts opened an eatery and catering business at 20 Main Street in Pennington called The Pig + The Pit that serves barbecue and southern food. But the pandemic put their plans for the tea parlor on hold. Instead, they opened a retail tea shop in Pennington in February of 2021. They soon discovered that their space had some issues, including leaks. They also felt it would be difficult to expand at the space later to serve food there. So they began searching for another location. In late summer, the 210 Nassau Street space became available and they signed a lease. Right after they found the space, the flash floods hit the region. Their building flooded, and they had to try to salvage and repack the items in their storage unit. They were relieved they had found the new space right before the flooding.
They were able to make the new space a reality with help from family and friends. A GoFundMe campaign has also helped them kick start the new Princeton tea parlor, which opened with a soft launch on Oct. 15.
Tipple + Rose is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The tea parlor is closed on Mondays.
The traditional high tea menu includes the tea of your choice, finger sandwiches, macarons, pastry cream tartlets, fresh fruit, and scones with lemon curd, local jam, and clotted cream. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are available.
Southern high tea features fried chicken salad on buttermilk biscuits, pimento cheese finger sandwiches, deviled eggs with local pepper jam, scones with a southern twist, banana pudding tarts, strawberry shortcake parfait, and red velvet macarons.
A brunch high tea includes items like mini quiche, mini bagels with lox, buttermilk biscuits, and fruit salad.
Tipple + Rose also offers a children’s tea that features items like bagel pizza, a turkey and cheese finger sandwich, strawberry honey banana finger sandwiches, and scones with Nutella.
Themed tea parties are also an option.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the tea parlor Thursday featured hot tea, small bites, and a birthday cake. Roberts’ mother turned 80 that day, with the grand opening timed so that the tea parlor’s anniversary will always be celebrated on that special date in honor of the mom who brought her back to her roots in New Jersey.