Destination Tea: Whitney’s Tea Room & Cafe

Update: As of January 2018, Whitney’s Tea Room & Cafe has closed its doors.

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.Former signage for the now Whitney's Cafe and Tea Room

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!

Tables set for tea at Whitney's Tea Room & Cafe
Pretty birdcage centerpiece adorns our table. And see that vintage radio against the wall?…
Antique radio at Whitney's Tea Room
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.
Interior Whitney's Tea Room in South Carolina
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.
Girls at tea, Whitney's Tea Room, dressed up
Cousins at tea, in their finery and frippery

Tea Service

Tea list at Whitney's Tea Room
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.
Tea pots with drip catchers, labels and warmers at Whitney's Tea Room afternoon tea
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).
Bird theme at Whitney's Tea Room
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

Crab and cauliflower soup at Whitney's Tea Room
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.
Salads at Whitney's Tea Room afternoon tea
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.
Tea sandwiches at Whitney's Tea Room afternoon tea
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 scones and spreads at afternoon tea at Whitney's Tea Room
Heart-shaped cinnamon date, blueberry and cranberry orange scones are served with lemon curd, Devonshire cream and fresh strawberries.
Dessert tray at Whitney's Tea Room afternoon tea
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.
Cookie decorating at Whitney's Tea Room
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?)
Teacup collection at Whitney's Tea Room
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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