Georgia's best-kept foodie secret needs a little help

(Courtesy: The Peacock Tea Room / Facebook)

It might be one of Georgia's best-kept foodie secrets. It is an exclusive, outdoor venue which only opened about 25 days a year, but serves a wide variety of flavors for everyone. But this year, its owner and head chef need help to keep it up and running before their full season starts.

The Peacock Tea Room is found inside the Georgia Renaissance Festival and is only open to the public when the faire is taking place. That is rain or shine, but this past season seemed to have been more rain than shine. The frequent showers created lighter traffic as well as a gaping hole in their kitchen's roof and ceiling.

Their cedar roof is more than 10 years old and not very durable to the ever-changing Georgia climate, according to their website. The good news is they have someone to take care of the roof and replace it with something more long-lasting. The bad news is their funds from last season can't quite cover it.

For about three months out of the year from April to June, the Peacock Tea Room seats customers in a humble space described as an "open-air, rustic, English-style tea room." It sits adjacent to the King's Hall Stage where such renaissance faire circuit acts as the Ded Bob Show (Georgia's original "walking Ded") leaves audiences in stitches. By noon a long waiting list has been compiled of faire patrons seeking some shade, a bite to eat, and of course a sip of tea. The respite is worth the wait and the loud, interspersed calls for parties to claim their table from a hostess who likely loses her voice on a weekly basis.

Once seated, visitors go on a flavor expedition, choosing with three menus to pick their taste explorations. The first is the house staples which include such items as their famous baked Scotch egg, an amazing huntsman pie, season fruit plates, phenomenal pies and more. A weekly specials menu never duplicates (just like the festival's themed weekends) during the entire festival offering uniquely flavored soups, tantalizing tea sandwiches, alluring cheese, and cracker plates, sensual scones, custom cookie butter, and specialty trifles. And of course, the specialty teas menu offering a wide variety of in-house blended and brewed cups. Everything is made from scratch including their Devonshire-style cream for the scones and perfectly portioned to try multiple dishes.

The tea room became so popular at the yearly festival that a few years back they started to take "to-go" orders out front. That was around the time Chef Randy Sheppard and Danny Ham took over ownership. And just a couple years ago, they started to take tea orders year-round on their website. That's what Sheppard, who's online and professional moniker is Chef Randy, hopes will help them get up and running before April's opening weekend.

"We are sadly still way behind meeting the goal to fix the roof and open this season. Help us out by donating what $$ you can or purchasing teas," Chef Randy wrote on the tea room's Facebook page.

Chef Randy famous tea blends are all for sale in 8-ounce and soon 4-ounce packs. This is not the usual Orange Pekoe cut black tea which is typically used to brew traditional Southern sweet tea. These are full-flavored, loose leaf blends which stimulate every taste bud with such offerings as English Carmel, Irish whiskey cream, Moroccan mint, vanilla sapphire, strawberry moon, berry berry (a caffeine-free favorite of kids), and their signature Peacock blend. Chef Randy hopes between these sales and loyal customer donations they can once again have a good roof over their heads.

“With a new roof over our heads we will be able to get our little shop back up to speed, so we can do what we do best. Prepare amazing creations just for you,” Chef Randy wrote on his website.

The Georgia Renaissance Festival opens April 13. It is open every Saturday and Sunday through June 2 as well as Memorial Day. There are also special school days for which Chef Randy prepares an extra special menu.