Growing up, Loretta Vertucci used to talk with her mom and sister about "Robinson's Tea Room," which they hoped to open one day.
Vertucci has always loved everything about tea: tea service, teapots, and of course tea parties. When the opportunity presented itself, she knew she had to act.
"It was an act of faith," she said. "I felt the sign so profoundly I knew it was just a sign from God to do it. It was fate, that I was meant to be here."
Prior to opening Robinson's Tea Room in 1999 with her husband and chef Jimmy, she was a medical sonographer, and before that she was a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines. Vertucci, who grew up in Smithtown, chose to open her restaurant in Stony Brook Village because there was no other place she could imagine opening one.
"We spent a lot of time here growing up," she said. "There's no place like the Village in Stony Brook. It's such a nice place."
The restaurant is named after her maiden name in honor of her mother and father, who are British.
In the restaurant she and Jimmy make everything fresh, and take great care in making sure they get the best produce available.
"It's a lot of work, but the people make it all worthwhile, it's so rewarding," Vertucci said, adding that many of their customers are regulars. Some have been coming to the restaurant for nearly 12 years now.
"They become so significant to our lives and become more than a customer," Vertucci said. "They come to feel like family. There are so many people who we have come to know and who have touched our lives and vice versa."
Customers come from all over the world, in particular from Germany and of course England, to visit the tea room. Visitors from England often tell Vertucci there are very few places to be found like this across the pond. She has even been asked to open a place just like it in England, which Vertucci feels is a great compliment.
When you visit Robinson's Tea Room, look closely during your visit and you may notice the many red cardinals hidden around the restaurant, which Vertucci says serve as a reminder to her about the profound moment when she received the sign from God to open the tea room.
Check out our latest review of Robinson's Tea Room.