Tea and crumpets anyone?
When Robbie Schoenberger was little, she remembers decorating up a storm.
"I was always designing and creating," she said, in a low, soothing voice and bright smile.
Tending to details and making things beautiful grew to become Schoenberger's passion as she has owned a special events-wedding decorating company called Wings of Silver for nearly 20 years.
She has also thoroughly exercised her flare for entertaining throughout the years.
"My mother called me the Pearle Mesta of Detroit Lakes," she said, of the 1950s Washington D.C. socialite who earned the original title of "Hostess with the Mostess."
Her mother, Mae, likely called Robbie this with a great deal of pride, as she too loved a good party -- tea parties to be specific.
"She simply was quite amazing," writes Schoenberger, "She loved tea. And teapots. And teacups. And tea parties."
Mae also reportedly loved her bright, red lipstick, which she always wore when drinking her tea out of china cups when company was over.
Schoenberger and her mother were known for throwing tea parties as Mae lived out her final years at Diamond Willow Assisted Living before passing away a little over a year ago.
"Mother is sipping tea in heaven right now," Schoenberger writes, "and if God didn't use china dishes before, you can bet he does now!"
Now, this "Pearle Mesta of Detroit Lakes" is making her own dreams come true as she brings the joy of real tea drinking to downtown Detroit Lakes.
On Friday, she opened Amazing Mae's Tea Parlor and the Whatever Boutique at 910 Washington Avenue.
One would be hard pressed to find anything quite as charming. The completely remodeled space (which was formerly Lakes Brewed Awakenings) drips with eclectic knick-knacks in the front and an exquisite dining area in the back.
Tables are real-live versions of every little girl's dream -- complete with white table clothes, cloth napkins, flower arrangements, china dishes and crystal. Forks are a thumbnail above the end of the table and everything is just so.
"It's just like playing house when I was a kid and my mom would get mad because I'd drag all this stuff out," said customer Ann Shane, laughing at how she not only gets to touch all of the china dishes, but actually use them.
Across from Shane sat her equally giddy friend Lynette Price, who was admiring her cinnamon coffee cake served up in a crystal sherbet glass.
"We even have a little timer so that we know exactly when to begin drinking our teas," said Price, who admits she was never a huge tea drinker, but "could be now."
But make no mistake; there are rules of etiquette that come with proper tea drinking.
Despite the old wives tale, pinkies should not be propped up.
"They certainly should not," laughed Schoenberger. "And different teas should be steeped for different amounts of time. Cream is served with coffee, but milk is served with tea -- that's the proper way. And when you drink tea, you're supposed to lift your saucer and cup," said Schoenberger, who adds that there are no "tea police" at her parlor and customers can drink however they want to.
(And yes, children are welcome, but those under four years old aren't given the real china.)
While there are a plethora of teas to choose from -- everything from sweet teas, full-bodied teas, children's teas, herbal teas and many more -- they also offer only one kind of high quality coffee.
"But nothing froo-froo" said Schoenberger. "No lattes or cappuccinos -- we have great coffee shops in town for that."
The tea parlor also serves homemade scones, crumpets, desserts with edible pansies and lunch items, including soups, salads and sandwiches.
"We have top quality breads, cheeses and meats," said Schoenberger, explaining how her thinly sliced roast beef is topped with an exquisite cheese and grilled on bread.
"I really want this place to be about the experience and the food," said Schoenberger, "I want customers to feel pampered and catered to."
The "Whatever Boutique" in the front is just as detail-oriented as the dining area, as it's sprinkled with a mixture of new, fun décor and old, and "repurposed" items.
"I wanted it to be something special -- something bright and inviting even during the winter," said Schoenberger, who painted the walls baby grass green and put in a black and white checkered floor.
It's now a space that is a perfect reflection of Robbie Schoenberger, kissed with just a little bit of red lipstick.
Tea parties can be booked at Amazing Mae's, including those for baby showers, bridal showers or any kind of special event.
Call 844-5588 or stop by during the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.