The beloved tearoom Crown and Crumpet Tea Room – which closed down its previous Ghirardelli Square location nine months ago – reopened in the first floor lobby of Japanatown's New People entertainment hub and shopping center.
After deciding not to renew the lease on their waterfront space, Crown and Crumpet owners, husband and wife team Amy and Chris Dean were asked to open up a Japantown location by the folks behind New People. To the Deans the neighborhood seemed like a natural fit.
“We partner with the J-Pop festival and have a lot of fans like Lolita girls who love Crown and Crumpet and Japantown as well,” Amy Dean tells me on my trip to the shop on its first day up and running. “Because we collaborate with them a lot they asked if we would open up a Crown and Crumpet here.”
The new space is significantly smaller than its old location, which is why it has appropriately enough, been packaged a "tea stop café" as opposed to a tearoom. Dean explains, “we wanted to make it a little different so that people would know it is a casual, quicker version of our old shop. It’s a quicker experience but you still get afternoon tea.”
Crown and Crumpet is currently working to create cinema snacks and bento boxes for the movie theater in New People's basement. The casual vibe is reflected in the shop's prominent positioning of its to-go service, and it's on the way to selling Blue Bottle coffee. (As of right now, Amy and Chris are working to get their degree from Blue Bottle's training program before they can start brewing).
But though the small space might not allow for as much lingering as the Ghirardelli Square location, but that doesn’t mean vistors won’t want to stick around. From the giant teacup clock hanging on the wall to trademark floral-and-polka-dot tablecloths to the staff’s coordinating aprons, Crown and Crumpet's a sweet sight.
The three-tiered afternoon tea was the standard order among customers on the afternoon I visited. Amy Dean personally explained each item on the plates as she simultaneously ran around working out some standard opening day kinks. The service was stacked: petit fours on top, crumpets and a scone in the middle, and sandwiches on the bottom level of the tray.
I opted to try out their signature stardust black tea, which was delightfully sweet but more importantly, sparkled! The blend has tiny silver shimmering specks in it.
Crown and Crumpet is still working to open up a bigger location, similar to its former site. The Deans aim to open that up before Christmas in the Union Square neighborhood. “We tentatively have a space where we hope to include a library area for the men as well as a party room,” Dean says.
There is no denying Crown and Crumpet’s Tea Stop Café offers a different experience compared to the old shop. But with 110 reservations on the books for its second day of service, and 62 visitors by the time I visited on Friday, it would seem customers still have a sweet spot for the place. “It’s really amazing that we have so many people that love us,” says Dean. “There are other tearooms in San Francisco but we really pay attention to details, the charm, and whimsicalness of it all.”
Crown and Crumpet Tea Room 1746 Post, SF. (415) 771-4252, www.crownandcrumpet.com