Entering the Serenity Tearoom on West Patrick Street is like stepping into a tranquil haven a world away. Soothing music, elegant tea sets and serene surroundings welcome you as you open the door. Even though "tea room" is in the title and, of course, a wonderful reason to visit, it’s also a restaurant that whips up some authentic low country cuisine for lunch and dinner.
The Serenity Tearoom was meant to be. Owner Blanch Henry tells of her grandmother gifting a tea set to her mother for the yet unknown daughter she was to bear. Blanch believes that God was revealing her purpose in life through her grandmother. She found the name Serenity while the tearoom was still only a prayer. Once the decision was made to move forward and open her own tearoom, Blanch recalls, “I was always a happy person, but that’s when my insides became happy!”
Blanch exudes peace and has a smile that will draw you in. She is well-known and beloved by the frequent visitors who enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and varied menu. Opening the restaurant 14 years ago, Blanch describes herself as a hands-on owner.
“I’m very involved because this is a blessing for me. I don’t take it lightly that this is a gift!" she says. "I welcome my customers as if they are guests in my own home; I’ll treat you like you truly are in my home, and I expect my employees to do the same.”
Blanch takes the time to greet the guests and satisfy any needs with that warm Southern hospitality of which she is so proud.
The low country menu is full of flavor and variety. With Southern specialties such as fried green tomatoes, pimento pork belly mac, fried okra with a Mississippi Comeback sauce, fried chicken and shrimp and grits—not to mention the 68 varieties of tea—you won’t be disappointed, and you will leave full. Blanch is such an accomplished chef that she and her daughter, Tiera, and her son-in-law, Brandon—also trained chefs—were selected to be on the Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games and finished as three-time champions of creating meals out of limited or unusual ingredients. Yes, this lady can cook!
“I believe in giving my customers the full package that they may not get in a restaurant that is about turning the tables," she says. "My desire is that once they hit the door, they’ll leave all that hustle and bustle outside and take time to spend the time with the guest who they are with and enjoy the moment. Our lives are busy, and we don’t get that shut-it-down, relaxing time, and that’s what I want Serenity to be about.
In opening the Serenity Tearoom, Blanch discovered her purpose in life.