By Beth Taylor
Sharon Moore put the brakes on her career as a television producer for Champ car when she started having children. No longer wanting to travel for work, Moore created a tea room that combines her English sensibilities and enjoyment of good food in a child friendly atmosphere.
“My inspiration is my background, being English. My career was a TV producer was creative—I’ve always had a creative side and I’m a really keen foodie,” said Moore who is from Newcastle, England.
Moore decided to add a play room for young children in Tilly’s Tea Room. “I wanted to have the traditional English vibe as a place to relax and socialize, but I didn’t want it to have the Victorian stereotype.”
Moore and her kitchen manager, Patti VanKemp, stick to homemade traditional recipes. “Some are mine, some are Patti’s. We work together on the recipes,” she said.
Moore spent two years coming up with the styles and ideas for the tea room. “We wanted the kids’ area but also wanted to be able to host special events.” Tilly’s has hosted Sweet Sixteen parties, bridal and baby showers and open house events.
A party includes food set up like a traditional tea with sandwiches, scones and jam. Moore goes to great lengths to get just the right clotted cream, which is sourced from a dairy farm in North Carolina.
Moore said that finding the location on 116th Street happened by chance. “I live in Westfield, but I had issues with zoning. I had been in here looking here for furniture at the consignment shop previously located in Tilly’s spot. So I spoke to the landlord—so far we’ve been really pleased.” she said.
Tilly’s was named after her daughter Matilda who goes by Tilly. Moore plans to convert the garage into a crooked house playhouse for children. She will name it Max’s Mansion after her son. “We’re not here just to sell tea. We are a place to socialize.”
Moore hopes to gear up for Fish and Chips to go and walk to a concert at the Amphitheater. She plans to serve wrapped in newspaper, the English way.