A fanciful feast

. October 23, 2012.

Swan House Tea Room
225 W. Sandusky St.

Recently we decided to be ladies who lunch. Dad was out of town, it was right before school started and we were looking for something a little special just for us girls. We found it at Swan House Tea Room. Having passed by the elegant Italianate structure countless times, we finally decided to step up our game and step into a little piece of Findlay history.

Built in 1865, Swan House was a family home for 50 years. For the next 80 years it hosted Mrs. Foresman’s Tea Room and medical practices before its conversion into apartments. In 1998 it was purchased and restored to some of its former glory and became Swan House, a place to have high tea or a light lunch. It was even one of the Tea Rooms featured in The Great Tea Rooms of America by Bruce Richardson.

A peaceful afternoon

We were a little nervous, given the mystique surrounding Swan House, since we are not a fancy family. We’re not heathens, but we tend to go for quick dining. We should not have waited so long to dine at Swan House, however. It was a nice respite from kids’ menus and coloring pages, and offered an atmosphere that is unique in Findlay.

Swan House offers two sittings (11am and 1pm Tuesdays through Saturdays) for proper tea, which includes fruit and delicacies ($17.50). Lunch is served from 11:30am to 1:30pm Tuesday through Friday ($6.95 not including drinks or dessert). The Gift Shoppe is open 10am to 3pm Tuesday through Saturday.

Impressive surroundings

We chose lunch. There is no dress code at Swan House so my children showed up in their summer uniform of tank tops and shorts, while other diners were dressed a bit nicer. We were duly impressed with the gleaming hardwood floors, high ceilings with crystal chandeliers and real linens on the tables. It was nice to hear classical music playing in the dining room and to drink out of real stemware. We felt compelled to whisper a bit, but as anyone with children knows that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “It’s fancy, but I like it,” said my third-grader. “It’s neat, you know,” said my sixth-grader. “It’s not the typical restaurant we go to.”

Swan House’s menu changes monthly, but focuses on light lunches featuring sandwiches, quiche and salads. You can also order combination platters of half sandwiches and salads, for example. I ordered the Swan House classic salad, which included diced eggs, cucumbers and sunflower seeds. My older daughter ordered the summer salad, fruit topped with an orange honey dressing. My younger daughter ordered half of the Fifth Avenue chicken casserole and half of the Summer Salad. It was a yummy light lunch menu that hit the spot, with a finishing touch of lemonade pie for dessert.

The next time we go to Swan House, we might dress up and try proper tea with scones, tea sandwiches and bite-sized desserts. We could get used to being a bit fancy!