Quit The Day Job, Open A Tea Cafe In Carrollton--Sounds Like A Plan

Categories: Interviews
Karen, Benjamin and Charles--tea, carrollton.jpg
Karen Kitchen, Benjamin Andrade and owner Charles Dean Bowen of Tea Thyme & Tisane.
Say you wanna open a restaurant. You envision yourself cooking and smiling and rainbows are shining and somewhere in the distance a chorus of angels is singing. Or a chorus of Harleys--depends on what makes you happy.

Anyway, you get the idea.

We all know it ain't that easy--but have you ever stopped to think about how hard it really is? Food business is a complicated endeavor. It would help if you had some experience in accounting, and maybe knew a little about real estate, too...and wouldn't it be cool if you were friends with a pastry chef?

We sat down with Charles Dean Bowen, owner of one-month-old Tea Thyme & Tisane and learned how his past life experiences (none of which involve food) might be just what'll make his new business a winner.

On ditching his day job: "I've been wanting to open a tea shop for about seven years now... I knew I didn't want to do accounting for the rest of my life, but I'm very grateful for it because, obviously, in running a business it can be very helpful. I was also in real estate, which was kind of a complete flop...but in the long run, I really think it's gonna help me. You had to learn how to pitch yourself and market yourself--it's like being a politician."

On setting up shop in Old Downtown Carrollton: "I really like the downtown feel. It's a cozy place to be. It's got cute little shops...For the most part, the majority of people here are very active and [they] have things scheduled like Chocolate Walk on September 18th." Chocolate Walk?!: "All these women come and it's a huge event and every shop should have something related to chocolate that night." And speaking of food: "I have two chefs. One's a regular chef (Benjamin Andrade) who does the menu items, then he also does the carrot cake, the chocolate cake, the apple pie... Then, Karen (Kitchen) ...is a pastry chef and can do scones and muffins and little tarts and lemon squares and things like that."

On how he lucked into his staff: "Karen was a friend of mine actually and she had told me recently she was looking for a job...and Benjamin was the chef here at Café on the Square...I heard a lot from the surrounding tenants [about] how good his food was, and they love the butternut squash and they love the meat loaf and they love this-and-that. He's really amazing."

On why he babys his tea: "When somebody tells me they don't like tea, I think, well, you've probably only had Lipton or maybe a bad green tea... A lot of people don't know how to actually prepare a tea. Now, green teas and white teas and oolong teas, you have to be gentle with them." And what the heck is a 'tisane'? "I consider a 'tisane' anything that's like a leaf, berry, root or bark boiled in water...basically it's any kind of herbal concoction."

On his tea of choice: "I do more herbal, which don't have the caffeine...but sometimes I just can't help myself, I gotta have my jasmine!"

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