The charming Winnsboro Bistro is an authentic English tea room where you can get a proper cup of tea in English country ambiance, and a bit of the history that goes with it.
It is the Bistro’s pleasure to serve you the perfect cup of tea, in fine Spode China, with milk. Proudly featuring Yorkshire Gold, which is also served to HRH The Prince of Wales, the Winnsboro Bistro knows all about the English custom of Afternoon Tea.
Peter Jessop, proprietor, is himself an Englishman and an interior designer who once designed sets for opera, ballet and theatre (his favorite project was “La Boheme”). He has appointed the bistro with authentic English details, such as the lovely paintings of cottages and villages that will be familiar to those who have traveled to England, and he has imbued it with English country charm.
A native of the Yorkshire area, Mr. Jessop is a gracious host who is happy to share with his guests his knowledge of tea and tea traditions. While still relatively new, the Winnsboro Bistro has become a popular choice for ladies’ groups who enjoy afternoon tea.
“When we serve afternoon tea, we give the full history of tea,” Peter said. For example, he shares with guests how the practice of adding the milk to the cup first came about: to protect the pottery from the hot temperature of the tea. He also explains how the custom of wearing gloves arose to protect ladies’ hands from the hot tea cups.
When afternoon tea became popular in England in the 1800s, “they wanted to serve the trendiest thing they could serve with their tea,” Peter points out. “And that was the sandwich.” And the sandwich is still a fixture of afternoon tea. At the Bistro, as in all the best tea rooms, the sandwiches are fresh cut and made after the guests arrive. Guests may choose Traditional Afternoon Tea with sandwiches and scones; Wimbledon Summer Tea with quiche, salad, scones, eclair and strawberries; English Regal High Tea with quiche, salad, sandwiches, scones, eclair and strawberries, or Westminster Cream Tea with scones and éclair. All include unlimited Yorkshire Gold tea.
The Winnsboro Bistro is a genteel sort of place where they understand that part of the tea experience is how the tea is served: with care for detail, and in fine China. That extends also to their amazing lunch and dinner service.
Mr. Jessop has assembled a most talented staff, and the food and service are exceptional. The Chef in residence is a blue-ribbon award-winning pastry chef. She uses locally grown vegetables and has created an inspired gourmet menu.
Lunch and afternoon tea are offered Tuesday – Sunday
from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
For lunch, you may want to start with a soufflé, then have the Shepherd’s Pie for something authentically English. We can also recommend the Summer Chicken Trio Salad, which features organic green salad, Alfredo Pasta Salad, and a fabulous chicken salad with grapes, pecans and mayonnaise. And for winter months, – made-from-scratch Chicken Pot Pie!
Offered Thursday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m., the dinner menu offers grilled salmon steak, filet mignon, lobster, pork loin and other fabulous options. And you need not rush. In true European fashion, guests are encouraged to enjoy their table for the entire evening, making fine dining at the Bistro an especially relaxing and memorable experience.
Opened in the spring of 2011, The Winnsboro Bistro came about as the result of guests at Mr. Jessop’s Pecan House B and B suggesting that he open something in nearby Winnsboro.
“As an interior designer, I had designed restaurants and I thought I’d quite like to own my own. I wanted a small, quiet European-style building. This building was an old hardware store and we had to do everything from scratch.”
With the eye of a designer, Mr. Jessop has transformed a hardware store into one of the most charming tea rooms in the area – it will certainly transport you to another time and place.
While here, visit the Shoppes connected to the tea room, for thoughtfully selected goods ranging from tea, to European pottery to boutique clothing and antiques. We found a very special antique two-color quilt on a recent visit.
The entire town of Winnsboro is a charming and friendly place with lots of fun shopping. If you want to explore this region in greater depth, book a stay at Mr. Jessop’s Pecan House B and B, which is a short drive away in Pittsburg. There guests can again enjoy afternoon tea, a full English breakfast, and even a ride in a Rolls Royce to a nearby winery.