A CHEF who dreamed of opening a Betty’s-style tea room in the Big Apple before the untimely death of her husband has instead launched a cafe with a twist.
Lesley Metcalf knew she had to think of an original concept for her tea room if she were to make it work in North Yorkshire because of the abundance of snack stops already around – so she settled on an Edwardian scone emporium.
The Scone Bar opened in May and has already proved to be popular with tourists and residents alike.
Mrs Metcalf, who had gone into business with close friend Jane Whitfield, said she chose Richmond in North Yorkshire because it held a special place in her heart.
“I live in Darlington but was brought up in Manfield and have spent a lot of time in Richmond," she said.
“I have friends there, and I used to go there a lot with my husband and our children. Jane and I spent a lot of time considering our premises – some we tried to make work when they clearly wouldn’t – and the one we have found has its challenges as it is split over three floors and has a small kitchen but so far it is working.”
The Scone Bar, in Trinity Church Square in Richmond’s market place, boasts staff in Edwardian dress serving tea and coffee in porcelain pots, and Mrs Metcalf said she has about 30 different scone flavours that she rotates, including lemon meringue, chilli cheese and black forest.
There are also hundreds of preserve and cream toppings to choose from, as well as dairy and gluten free and vegan options.
Mrs Metcalf, whose late husband was a leading North-East journalist and a news editor at The Northern Echo, said she was supposed to join her husband in New York where he was working, and thought her English tea room in Manhattan idea would have been a winner.
She said: “I was supposed to join Tony in the US this year – he always said it would be really popular there.
“But now I’m staying in the UK, and my business partner Jane was made redundant before Christmas so we thought we would change the plan and set it up here.”
Mrs Metcalf, who trained at catering school, hopes to use her expertise in an Edwardian menu evening during the quieter winter months.
She said: “They would have between eight to 22 small courses - I hope to do something like that once a month when the tourist season ends.”