PELHAM, N.Y. Mount Vernon resident Leslie Allicks opened Lola's Tea House on Fifth Avenue in Pelham in April 2008. The name of the tea house comes from her mother but the inspiration came from her late father.
Allicks's father, Lester, passed away several years ago after he suffered from terminal colon cancer. She had been working as an HMO executive for more than 20 years and she said that her father's experience changed her life.
"Even though my career was very successful and sound and lucrative, I hated my job," Allicks said.
Allicks decided to open the tea house in her father's memory because he enjoyed drinking tea, though she named it after her 86-year-old mother with whom she lives.
Lola's Tea House is the only full service tea house in southern Westchester County. The closest one to the north is in Tarrytown, and the closest in the south is on 96th Street in New York City.
The uniqueness of Lola's Tea House has allowed it to draw customers from areas other than Pelham. Allicks said people sometimes travel across the Tappan Zee Bridge and from the Bronx to relax and drink tea in her shop.
The tea house offers imported loose leaf teas, and Allicks said the shop's high tea service is an attractive feature to customers. Patrons can buy tea on a fancy plate with finger sandwiches and small desserts.
"Everyone oohs and ahs over it," Allicks said. "You can't get your bread crust cut off anywhere else but here."
Allicks has served tea to customers for more than three years, but the foundation of the tea house has been and always will be her late father.
"I wanted to open the tea house in his honor," Allicks said.
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