Brian and Abbey Lucas, former operators of the restaurant in Sebastian’s General Store, are preparing to open up shop again in the former location of the Tea Cozy, 4286 Bridge St. in Cambria.
As of Feb. 19, the Lucases hadn’t yet selected a name for their new business (perhaps Bridge Street something or other).
Brian Lucas, a second-generation restaurateur, estimated they might be ready to open this spring.
The restaurant is planned for the Thorndyke House, a historic structure built in the 1880s. A century later, it housed for a time Robin and Shanny Covey’s Robin’s restaurant, before that establishment moved to its current location in the old Souza house on Burton Drive.
Thorndyke House owner Marty Main then opened her “Little House on Bridge Street” in the building that, in 1995, became home to The Tea Cozy, an English tearoom that had several sets of owners.
The Lucases arrived in Cambria in 2001. They began building their loyal clientele at a West Village juice bar, which became their Courtyard Deli (where Sandy’s Deli & Bakery is now).
The Courtyard menu drew a wide range of customers and was so popular the new owners have kept many of the same items, Brian Lucas said.
The Lucases then operated Sebastian’s café to rave reviews starting in 2008 — juicy burgers and lusciously overstuffed beef-dip, pastrami and meatloaf sandwiches, among others. But the couple ended that rental arrangement in July when the building’s operator wanted the restaurant open seven days a week with a manager on site, which the Lucases didn’t want to do.
Since then, Ian McPhee of McPhee’s in Templeton renovated and is operating the Sebastian’s eatery.
Brian Lucas said that, at the Bridge Street location, they’re looking forward to catering to a customer mix that tilts more to locals, although they enjoy serving tourists, too.
“We do like to feed our friends,” he said.
While the Lucases’ new enterprise is happy news for fans of the their casual lunchtime cuisine, it’s sad tidings for Tea Cozy owner Tina Nickell.
On her website, www.teacozy.com, she’s posted the notice that “the Tea Cozy is now closed,” due to her own ill health and exhaustion, and the difficulty of finding staffing to help her take care of the 10,000 to 12,000 customers she said she was serving annually.
Nickell indicated that, if her recovery progresses as expected, she plans to resume taking tea orders in mid-March, using email and a new e-commerce website.
Other restaurant news
Meanwhile, Giovanni Grillenzoni has closed his Harmony Café, and has reopened in the Pewter Plough Playhouse. For now, he’s serving après theater desserts, espresso, coffee and wine, but hopes to open soon for lunch and/or dinner, according to Playhouse sources.