Last week I had brunch with a friend at The Pink Tea Cup on 6th Ave. The decor definitely lives up to the moniker. The walls, the stools, and the very friendly staff were all swathed in pink. Pictures of famous black people adorned the walls, and the mural on the center wall reminded me of the the image that was always shown at the end of Good Times. Various oldies, such as the sounds of Motown, played over the speakers. I arrived early, so I had a few minutes to relax at the bar before my friend arrived. As I sat at the counter listening to Ray Charles, “Mess Around” and admiring the images on the wall, I felt as though I’d been transported through time.
Turns out the nostalgia of the restaurant is definitely on purpose. The Pink Tea Cup originally opened on Bleecker Street in 1954. After over 50 years of serving soul food to The Village, the restaurant closed in 2010 due to increasing rents. Many loyal patrons set up an online petition to try to save the restaurant, and later that year Lawrence Page stepped in and bought the name with the hopes of keeping The Pink Tea Cup legacy alive.
Page is an entrepreneur who has owned other restaurant venues and produced and directed independent films. His plans for The Pink Tea Cup have not been smooth sailing. He was unable to keep the original location but did find another spot in the Village. However, the new location was closed shortly after and plans were announced to bring the Pink Tea Cup to Harlem. (There were rumors that the restaurant would be renamed the Pink Heifer but that idea was quickly scrapped due to widespread disapproval, as the word “heifer”, in some communities, is considered to be a derogatory term aimed at a woman.) The Harlem plan eventually fell through after Page could not get the correct liquor license for the restaurant. But although the path has been rocky, the Pink Tea Cup did find a home back in the Village and for now seems to be on even ground.
The branding of the restaurant brags of their “Chicken and Waffles.” Unfortunately, I was not in the mood for a very heavy breakfast at 11am, so I opted for the simple 2-egg breakfast, which was good, but nothing special. Reviews on yelp have been mixed. One other downfall is that this place is cash-only. But I liked the history and the decor and I would give this place another shot if I were in the neighborhood again. But next time I’ll definitely try the chicken and waffles.