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Classy, yet cozy: Clara J's Tea Room makes elegance comfortable

Clara J's Tea Room came to be in 2005, but its spirit can be traced back to the turn of the twentieth century.

MAUMEE, Ohio — Have you ever wanted to sip tea on a hill in the English countryside, pondering if you are destined to wed Mr. Collins or Mr. Darcy... or is that just me? 

If you can relate, there's a cozy spot in Maumee that will give you all the vibes of a Jane Austen novel.

Clara J's Tea Room came to be in 2005, but its spirit can be traced back to the turn of the twentieth century. 

Clara Jaessing Keller was born in 1904 and was the granddaughter of early settlers in the Maumee Valley. She was a trailblazer, attending Baldwin-Wallace College in a period where few women went off to college. Clara studied culinary arts, and eventually, she used her knowledge and ingenuity to develop the Stuckey’s Restaurant franchise. 

Clara's niece, Rebecca Jaessing, followed closely in her aunt's footsteps, opening the tea room on West Wayne St., and naming it in her honor.

The tea room is filled with fine cutlery and dolled up in comforting, yet delicate pastels - although, those words can easily describe the shop's spread.

The scones, which change every few days, are expertly done: crunchy on the outside, but a bit softer as you bite down, maintaining its structure with a delightful hint of sugary fruit.

Credit: Jenson Strock

However, the true mark of a good tea room is a cucumber sandwich, which Clara J's executes wonderfully. Each one is cut into a multitude of tiny finger sandwiches, with the perfect layers of cream cheese, cucumber and a spattering of dill.

In addition to the regular menu, Clara J's offers a "Proper Tea" menu, available from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The current array of items goes for $24 and includes:

  • A warmed scone with a pot of tea - served with lemon curd, Devonshire cream and strawberry jam 
  • A broccoli snap salad in a cheddar cracker, brie and pepper jam crostini and shredded fennel and apple salad
  • The signature ribbon sandwich, the traditional cucumber sandwich and a mini Mediterranean chicken pita
  • A dessert: lemon buttercream cookie, chocolate caramel cake and a celebration bundt cake

Clara J's has menu items for kids and options for those with allergies, offering gluten-free options for desserts, scones and tea bread upon request. 

For a complete look at the menu, including its long and indulgent choice of teas, check out the Clara J's Tea Room website here.

Credit: Jenson Strock

The tea room serves lunch Tuesday - Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., Proper Tea Wednesday - Saturday at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. by reservation as well as tea and sweets from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

You can contact Clara J's Tea Room at 419-897-0219.