After more than 20 years of dreaming about a restaurant to call her own, Bonnie Dickinson’s tea room is finally open for business.
Vintage Tea Room serves lunch and tea from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at 316 E. Main St. in Belleville.
The grandmother from west Belleville put off her plans for decades. But she never lost sight of her dream, collecting the items for the restaurant as the years went by.
Now all of those pieces are on display in her quaint restaurant in downtown Belleville.
“I tried to decorate like I would decorate my house,” Dickinson said. “I didn’t want a fluffy tea room. I didn’t want a lot of flowers. Having three sons and a husband, we never had a lot of flowers in our house.”
White tablecloths cover each table. Art and photos from her son and other artists cover the walls. Two bistro tables flank the entrance of the tea room, where guests can dine inside or out.
The tea room serves nearly a dozen different types of tea, as well as soups, salads and sandwiches. Dickinson does most of the cooking. She’ll also make signature desserts named after her grandchildren: Joey, Libby, Aubrey and Madison.
“The menu is a very clean menu,” she said. “We have nothing fried.”
There are healthy choices available, but if you want to indulge, Dickinson suggests going for the Chocolate French Silk ($5.25).
For years, Dickinson has served the dessert to friends and family. Now it’s available in her tea room.
You’ll also find bicycles and symbols of Christianity sprinkled throughout the decor. Dickinson’s faith has played a large role in opening the tea room.
A member of St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Belleville, Dickson said she wanted to give families and small bible study groups a place to go in downtown Bellleville.
Her husband, Bill, is supporting her along the way. The couple bought the building and transformed it into the place of Dickinson’s dream.
“This has been meant for her for years,” he said. “It was time to do it. I support her on this. That’s about all I can do.”