CARMEL, N.Y. - The mission at Florrie Kaye's is to "transport you back in time, to a place of elegance ... for you to be treated like royalty, if only for a short time."
And Carmel, Putnam and the surrounding area is loving it.
Florrie Kaye's Tea Room & Gifts, which opened last April on Main Street in Carmel, is all about a traditional English afternoon tea and English fare - complete with fancy hats and elegant flower arrangements.
And according to customers, not only is the atmosphere inviting, but the food is great.
"A friend said it was darling, it was charming, and welcoming, and it is darling, it is charming, and it is welcoming," said Lisbeth Dull, who drove 40 minutes from Ridgefield, Conn. with her group, which also traveled from Westchester. "And the food has been fantastic, the service has been so warm. And you get to wear hats. It's so much more fun than a regular restaurant. It was so worth the 40-minute drive,. And we'll be back."
Owner Gina Aurisicchio, a Carmel High grad who currently resides in Mahopac, said she wanted to create something different.
"I've always loved tea rooms, it was always a special experience," Aurisicchio told Daily Voice. "It was a special day to share with my mom and sisters, my aunts, my daughters... we searched out tea rooms wherever we went.
"It's a special experience, and we wanted to bring it to Carmel," Aurisicchio added. "It's a place for the community to meet."
Aurisicchio's mother makes a valuable contribution to the family-run business. "My mom makes the hats," Aurisicchio said. "My sister and I are both florists, so we do all the flowers, and my dear friend, who is British, is the chef. We have traditional British fare, traditional scones, tea sandwiches, and our most popular dish is the Coronation Chicken. And afternoon tea is our specialty.
"It's a three-tiered presentation decorated on a cake plate," she added. "Tea sandwiches on the bottom, British scones in the middle, and miniature desserts on the top. Traditionally served at three o'clock, it's a relaxing experience. We carry over 75 varieties of tea."
Aurisicchio said response from the community has been beyond expectations. "It's been wonderful," she said. "We are so blessed... our customers are wonderful, and it's been a pleasure to come to work every day. Its been great.
"I think it's because we have a wonderful community, and this is a place for people to come together," she added. "It's a charming little hamlet, it calls for little cafes and venues like this... I think it was long overdue."
Florrie Kaye's also hosts events, and is located at 69 Gleneida Avenue in Carmel. For info go to www.florriekayes.com or look them up on Facebook.
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