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Keep ME Open: Tea & Tarts works to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic

The vegetarian café owners have found a way to offer curbside pick-up by preparing the orders themselves, since they can't bring back their employees yet.

BANGOR, Maine — Tea & Tarts is a woman-owned tea room and vegetarian café in downtown Bangor. Like many other small businesses, they closed their doors to plan how to safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic. Just a week ago, the vegetarian cafe opened for curbside pick-up service.

The owners, Caitlin Brown and Sara Moreshead are currently running the kitchen, taking calls and preparing the orders, as they had to furlough their five employees.

Tea & Tarts is known for its wide variety of teas, sweet tarts, vegan and gluten-free options. They have 35 types of tea from all around the world and the tarts are made from scratch.

"I get pre-faithfully Caprese sandwiches, which are SOOO fantastic! The pesto and balsamic really good!" customer Kathryn Shepard said.

"It's been definitely a challenge because we have a lot of immunocompromised people on our team," one of the owners Caitlin Brown said.

After two months being closed, the two owners are trying to keep their small business going and they are hopeful they will make it.

"We did, unfortunately, had to furlough for a little while the rest of our team, but hopefully we can get them back on staff pretty soon," Brown said.

May 1 marked Tea & Tarts' one year anniversary. Even though the cafe was closed and empty, the owners are optimistic they'll be able to celebrate by welcoming customers back inside soon.

"I'm going to absolutely support them when they do open, but whenever they feel ready and safe for that," Shepard said.

"We are kind of looking into the future, maybe in a couple of weeks, opening just you know the front portion of our restaurant because we have an open kitchen it's really hard to have diners back there," Brown said.

Tea & Tarts is now offering family meals for Saturday's, you can order them throughout the week and they'll be ready for pick-up on Saturday.

"You get kitchen fatigue, you don't want to cook, it's a beautiful Saturday, you don't want to turn on your ovens, so come on in we'll make it all for you!" Brown said.

Their current schedule for curbside pickup is Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday's from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. You can call them at (207) 922-2896. 

You can find local small businesses open near you by going to the Open Near Me section of our website.

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