I guess I’ve always been a “foodie” and I blame my Mom and Grandma, because they were such great cooks! When my mom decided to quit work to be a stay-at-home mom to us girls, she cooked home-made meals almost daily. I grew up eating fresh from the garden and homemade foods such as: crispy fried chicken and potato salad, roast beef and mashed potatoes with gravy, pork chops, Cornish Hens with pilaf, goulash, chili, soups and stews, and many more. Grandma was also an awesome cook and baker, and we had many home baked pies.


It was only after I moved away from home and went to University, that I tried Asian and Mediterranean foods, and boy did I fall in love. After I had been working as a Recruiting Manager, I was introduced to both my husband and Indian food. Before we had kids, we ate out often. After having the twins, I cook often, and we eat many types of foods; a plethora of American, Asian, Mediterranean – you name it, if it’s yummy, we eat it.


I’ve always liked to cook – it brings back memories of loved ones. Only after the twins were born did I really take an active interest in learning how to make healthier foods. So much information is out there that can be confusing, and it’s been a passion of mine to research GMO versus non-GMO foods. I truly believe food is our medicine, and know deep in my heart the reason my grandparents had such long and healthy lives was due to them eating straight from their gardens, and remaining active for as long as possible. 


So when I came to a time in my career when sitting at a desk for 12 hours a day wasn’t healthy for me, I quit my job and immediately started working on opening a cooking school for kids. Rata2ee was born! We had been in business since 2014, working in home ec rooms in various school districts. All the while, requests for private parties such as our Cupcake Wars Birthday parties and Make a Pizza parties grew. Now we needed a space to conduct our private parties.

When I found out Loretta Curry, owner of The Victorian Rose Tea Room in downtown Rochester, MI, was retiring, an idea hit me. After a few years of looking for that perfect location to hold our Rata2ee private events, we finally found it. And why not keep the tea room during the daytime hours! This is the perfect pairing of two great companies, and we are SO excited! Loretta wrapped up her Farewell Christmas High Teas on 12/18/16, and we were handed the keys on 12/19/16. Loretta has done a GREAT job building her business over the past 21 years, and I hope to do it justice by carrying on the torch!

With a few small changes, we re-opened on Monday, January 9, 2017! We have kept all your favorite recipes, the Victorian theme, and hopefully the clientele. We even had the honor of keeping some of the previous employees, which helped with continuity.  

I am very thankful for Loretta, who has been supportive, gracious, and integral in this transition (I know it cannot be easy handing over your 21-yr-old "baby"); the previous employees some of whom are now my employees (for their patience during this transition); and of course the patrons, for this was not possible without your continued loyalty and support! 


It is still a walk-in restaurant, but reservations are encouraged, to be guaranteed a seat. We have expanded our open hours somewhat, and added some vegetarian, vegan, and gf recipes. While we are keeping some of the current tea selections, we are also offering some new loose leaf teas that are served in pyramid bags. Check our website for the flavor of the month! 


We continue to specialize in events such as baby showers, wedding showers, rehearsal dinners, corporate events, meetings, and other small group events. We also have some fun additions:


For Kids: Birthday Teas, Doll Teas, Tiaras & Teas, Harry Potter Wizards & “Mug”gles Teas, Princess Teas, we also do private Cupcake Wars Birthday Parties (a Rata2ee Event - call for details)


For Everyone: Sound of Music Sing-along, Mary Poppins Sing-Along, Tiaras & Teas, Harry Potter Wizards & “Mug”gles Teas, Alice in Wonderland Teas

For Adults: Steam Punk Teas, Downton Abbey Teas, Breakfast at Tiffany's Teas, Murder Mystery Nights, Game of Thrones Dinner, Outlander Dinner, Mardi Gras Dinner

Holidays: Mother's Day High Tea (4-course meal); The "Real" Mother's Day Gift (Mommy Monday); School is Out Teacher's Gift (Teacher's Pamper Monday); Back to School GDI (Mommy Monday 2); Christmas High Teas (4-course meal); Elf on the Shelf “Parent Support Group” Tea, Christmas Gift Wrapping Teas (proceeds go to voted-upon charity); After the Holidays (Mommy Monday 3)


Call to reserve now, as dates are currently being booked for all kinds of events and parties. Don’t miss out!

Please stay tuned for more information as we continue to renovate, grow, and take on new challenges. And thank you for all your well wishes and support!


Tonia Carsten

Tonia's Victorian Rose
Tea Room & More
118 W 3rd St
Rochester, MI 48307

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