Destination Tea: Gryphon

Where: Savannah, GA
Style:  1920s apothecary cum tearoom
Tea Selection:  10 loose leaf teas by Harney & Sons
Teatimes:  Monday to Saturday 11 to 6; Sunday 11 to 3
Reservations: 24-hour notice required for 11 to 4 seatings Monday through Saturday; otherwise, walk-ins welcome
Contact: 912-525-5880
Cost:  $20 Afternoon Tea
Destination Tea Tip: Invite the fellas to the Gryphon. It’s ideal both for the ambiance (after all, the building was designed by a fraternal organization) and because you can spontaneously order brunch or lunch items along with your afternoon tea, to satisfy the hearty appetite.

Destination Tea Notes: By now, our followers know we adore the romance of taking tea in a historic venue, but we say the Gryphon’s afternoon tea menu merits our praise independent of its architecture and interior design. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) runs the Gryphon, weaving past and future together by employing SCAD students to design, cook, bake and serve in this historic space. Our young waiter proudly answers our questions about the building. We learn Freemasons originally designed it as a Masonic temple (ballrooms still remain on upper floors), whose construction was completed in 1923 and deeded to Scottish Rite, at which time the Solomon brothers opened an apothecary on the ground floor, which finally in 1998, was converted to a tearoom. The afternoon tea here focuses on doing the traditional elements well, from quality teas to freshly baked and prepared scones, tea sandwiches and pastries. There are definite gasps as the dessert course is presented, and discovering that it tastes as delicious as it looks, we dub it the star of the Gryphon’s afternoon tea.

exterior Gryphon in Savannah, GA
About to cross this threshold and step back in time…
interior Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Wow. Where to look first? The stained glass pendant lights or apothecary border over the bar? The dark wood wall-to-wall bookcases with ornately carved embellishments or the ceiling’s centerpiece: an inset floral stained glass dome?
Ceiling at the Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Eclectic decorating choices, combining vintage lighting fixture, gorgeous stained glass, and patterned multi-colored fabric wallpaper — designed by a SCAD student.
Booth once an ice cream parlor counter at the Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Our booth table was once the site of a 1923 apothecary ice cream parlor counter.

Tea Service

Gryphon table setting in Savannah, GA
Did a SCAD student design and make our napkin rings? We think so! We are each invited to choose a tea and happily deduce that these are Harney & Sons flavors.
Pouring tea at Gryphon in Savannah, GA
We choose one pot of Caribe and one of English Breakfast.
Tea table at Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Generous pitchers of honey for sweetener
Indian spice chai tea at Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Our third tea is individually served – Indian Spice Chai

Scones & Spreads, Savories and Sweets

Crepe with side salad at Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Our two growing tweens elect to add a spinach-mushroom crepe with side salad to our afternoon tea, giving us an opportunity to explore the brunch menu and determine that freshness and scrumptiousness are universal qualities of the Gryphon kitchen.
Afternoon tea tray at Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Afternoon tea curate arrives.
Tea sandwiches at Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Cucumber and chicken salad finger sandwiches
Scones and devonshire cream at Gryphon in Savannah, GA
Warm orange blossom scones are served with yummy mock Devonshire cream (we’re told mascarpone factors into it), jam and fruit
Delicious desserts at afternoon tea at Gryphon in Savannah, GA
French macarons, dark chocolate cups, pecan tart, raspberry tea cakes and apricot windows each divinely blend just the right amount of sweetness, moisture and indulgence.
DestinationTea
Tea Voyageuse, discovering the world of afternoon tea, based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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