St. Petersburg's Sawgrass Tiki Bar & Tea House and Ray's Vegan Soul are looking to bring low tea, or afternoon tea, back in style, with good food, of course. The two businesses plan to collaboratively host recurring tea gatherings at Sawgrass' Grand Central District space, and the first will be held Saturday, March 28.
After Sawgrass was involved in a Wordier Than Thou literary pub crawl around the neighborhood, many of the folks who stopped in came back and said, "Let's do a daytime thing," according to Sawgrass co-owner Susan Bridges. She said the tea events will help kickoff the bar's extended hours during the day.
Bridges and vegan food master Ray Milton — who used to operate Fourth Street's Sugar Rays Bakery and cooked up the quinoa burgers that were a hit at the recent Localtopia fest — worked together on a chili dish for the district's cook-off last month, so their new partnership evolved naturally.
"I just love that all these different businesses are doing these collaborations," Bridges said.
Milton doesn't have a brick-and-mortar shop for his vegan eats, but he serves everything from Ethiopian lentils to mac and cheese to sourdough jalapeño cornbread to piña colada cupcakes at area events and places like Bradenton's Geraldson Community Farm.
He'll pair his lighter fare, including dips, veggie platters and miniature desserts, with a couple of Bridges' specialty teas since low teas are more casual than high teas typically held in the evening. Two sittings, one at 2 p.m. and another at 6 p.m., will be offered.
The events will also have a literary slant to showcase readings by local writers, and possibly even music.
"It's more chill (than a high tea)," Bridges said, "But still really yummy."
Tickets are $25, and purchasing them in advance, by calling the bar or emailing [email protected], is recommended to ensure there's enough food to go around.