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Grand Opening for Cottage Tea Room

Restaurant serving light fare in the Magnolia Cottage on the grounds of the Payne Corley House, a special events catering facility in Duluth. The tea room is having its grand opening April 2.

The Cottage Tea Room has been opened by five Duluth ladies who had a dream and followed it. It's having a grand opening Tuesday, April 2.

Dream Keepers Inc. is operating the restaurant in the Magnolia Cottage on the grounds of the Payne-Corley House, a special events catering facility located at 2987 Main St. in Duluth.

The Cottage Tea Room serves light fare and an assortment of teas from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The menu includes pecan chicken salad, quiche, soups, salads, and homemade desserts. All the food is hand-prepared on site. (See menu accompanying this article.) The restaurant seats 75 guests.

Dream Keepers Inc. is composed of longtime friends Annette Summerour, Jane Wilson, Margie Ross, Judy Burel, and Emma Deavours, who started the special events facility. The ladies initially rented then purchased the historic Payne-Corley House in 2001 from the family. The Paynes and Corleys were early Duluth merchants.

The home was built in 1873 and is the oldest remaining house in Duluth. They extensively renovated the home for the special events facility.

They opened a tea room in the Payne-Corley House in 1998 and operated it until they turned the venue into a full time special events facility a year or so later. In 2004 Michael and Krista Ganley were hired as the new management team and then purchased the property in 2008. The Ganleys and Dream Keepers are partnering in operating the Cottage Tea Room.

“We were the founders of the Payne-Corley House,” Wilson said. “We sold it to them (the Ganleys), and now they hired us to work for them.”

Krista Ganley is Annette Summerour’s daughter, and her husband Michael is a former Ritz-Carlton chef. They also own and operate Park Café in Duluth.

The Magnolia Cottage was added about five years ago.

The cottage was the site of four or five events, mostly small weddings, on the weekends, said Wilson. “It was just sitting there during the week.”

So they decided to bring the tea room back. “We all felt as a group there was a need for something like this in the community,” Wilson said. They plan to eventually accommodate two seatings a day, she said, and host fashion show luncheons and home décor parties.

The Cottage Tea Room can also accommodate special events. There’s a private room for a table of 4-6 bridge players, too.  

“When we were preparing to do this,” Wilson said, “we all fell right in the groove where we left off 15 years ago.”

Annette and Margie are the main cooks, Wilson said. She and Judy serve as hostesses. Jane handles the bookkeeping. Emma floats where needed.

The Cottage Tea Room offers a quiet place for lunch and a place for friends and family to gather, Wilson said.

Reservations for the Cottage Tea Room are recommended. Call 770-476-5366 or email tearoom@paynecorleyhouse.com.

Jean H April 02, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Enjoyed the pecan chicken salad for lunch today! Welcome back ladies... and thanks for providing a Tea Room for Duluth!

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