Destination Tea: Whitney’s Tea Room & Cafe

Where:  Garden City, SC
Style:  Dainty Vintage
Tea Selection:  40+ loose leaf teas by Tea Forté
Teatimes:  Monday-Saturday 10-4
Reservations:  Walk-ins welcome, reservations strongly recommended
Contact: 843-651-3071 or reserve here
Cost:  $22 High Tea; $16 Child’s High Tea (ages 12 and under)
Destination Tea Tip:  Over the summer this tearoom had a change in ownership, but loyal customers of the former Just Because IYQ should know that the new husband-wife team carries on the tearoom’s favorite recipes.

Destination Tea Notes:  When Steven Neeves emerges from the kitchen to chat with us for a bit, he shares a story that brings a smile to my face:  about when his wife Whitney, upon learning this tearoom would be closing, came to him to say, let’s do this! In only three years since Eileen Cyrus opened Just Because IYQ, she had garnered a loyal following of afternoon tea-goers, Whitney among them, who weren’t ready to say goodbye to their beloved local tearoom. In its second chapter, the now Whitney’s Tea Room & Cafe still offers its favorite recipes, passed on from Eileen to Steven (who, as a chocolatier, knows his way around a kitchen). This is one of those afternoon tea experiences that leaves you feeling happily spoiled, from the graciousness of the staff to the delicious meal, naturally preceded by a bit of dress-up. Having introduced a brunch service and clever vintage “sound system” (see below), the Neeves have already begun to inspire creative additions to the tearoom. We wish them every success in their new venture!

Pretty birdcage centerpiece adorns our table. And see that vintage radio against the wall?…
Steven gave this antique radio new life by putting a bluetooth satellite radio inside it. I loved listening to music from the old days during our tea. Very cool.
Before we sit down to tea, we wind our way through these colorful chairs to choose our hats and boas at the back of the tearoom.
Cousins at tea, in their finery and frippery

Tea Service

Each guest chooses her own large pot of tea, which the girls loved sharing around the table. The handmade tea menus include detailed explanations of the tea varieties and flavors.
Cherry marzipan tea for me? Obviously, and yum! A first for us: drip-catcher contraptions on our teapots, with tea charms and tags. Labeling the pots is something we have seen before, and a smart idea for a larger party or anyone who forgets what they ordered (don’t laugh, it happens).
Continuing with the bird theme, each place setting has a bird lemon squeezer for us to flavor our water and teas.

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Steven says he knows he cannot remove this Just Because IYQ favorite from the menu because it has its own fanbase, and I understand why. This creamy crab and cauliflower soup is a delicious, creative flavor blend.
This “high tea” is earning its moniker by serving us a very full meal, including three salads we pass around the table: tomato basil, creamy cucumber dill (a favorite of ours) and sweet & sour cole slaw.
Love the attention to detail and the fancifulness of our sandwich display. Hearts, stars, flowers and teapots form our chicken salad on wheat, cucumber dill on English toast and pimiento cheese on rye and pumpernickel.
Heart-shaped cinnamon date, blueberry and cranberry orange scones are served with lemon curd, Devonshire cream and fresh strawberries.
Desserts elicit happy sounds all around the table, and are not overly sweet: triple chocolate brownie, warm cinnamon apple cake with caramel drizzle and lemon drop truffle with strawberry stars for summer.
Those lucky girls! After gasping over each new delight and munching on one treat after the next, the children are treated to a mini cookie-decorating party to finish the meal. They loved it! (How could they not?)
The walls are lined with teas and gifts for sale, but of course my eye is drawn to this tea cup display. So fun. Makes you want to return again and again, until you’ve sipped from all your favorite cups!
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. Monday Sept 18th, 2017
    We thoroughly enjoyed delectable cream teas, with our Texas friends, this afternoon!
    The decor was clean, soothing and comfortable – food, tea and service exceptional. Everything was even better than our experiences in England – and we are English-Americans.
    Yes, we highly recommend this special tearoom!
    Ray & Margaret Robinson (from Columbia, SC)

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