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Fairytale Teahouse Serendip-a-Tea Is Kendall's Best-Kept Secret

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Imagine your favorite childhood fairytale — vivid colors in a whimsical setting with knick-
knacks you wish you had at home. At Serendip-a-Tea (8004 SW 81st Dr., Miami), that fantasy is made reality.

The teahouse is nestled between stores in the Kings Creek Shopping Center in Kendall. Longtime friends and founders Norma Jean Abraham and Iliana Garcia say high rent prices are why they opened down south. 

"My business partner actually goes to the dentist down there," Garcia laughs. "Everything is so expensive, so it was hard finding a space. But after she had an appointment there, she realized there was an open spot in the same center. It's a little destination mall, but it's very neighborhood- and community-oriented. When we walked inside, we both said, 'Oh, yeah, this is where we want to be.'"

They opened in April 2015 and have kept an all-hands-on-deck mentality. Garcia handles everything related to tea and daily operations, while Abraham concentrates on promotion and community outreach.

"A lot of people have a misconception that we are just tea," Garcia says. "But we have food too. It's really about the entire atmosphere."

The eatery offers more than 32 varieties of tea, including green, white, black, and oolong. Any can be ordered hot or cold, in small or large pots, or to go. For those who want a true afternoon-teatime experience, bite-size tea sandwiches served in groups of three can be ordered too. There are nine options, including egg salad, fig delight, salmon, and English cucumber, or the choice of a sampler with four different sandwiches.

"I like to eat," Garcia laughs. "We come up with things we like to enjoy, and then we put it to the test. The menu is pretty much things I savor with my tea that everyone else seems to enjoy too."

Bigger bites, such as tuna salad sandwiches and veggie burgers, are offered too. For something in the middle, try a raspberry and goat cheese salad or a mini wedge with peppercorn bacon and blue cheese dressing. Soups and miniquiches are also available.

But the ladies at Serendip-a-Tea know teatime isn't complete without a few pastries, which is why their menu offers a variety of sweets, including cookies, madeleines, muffins, and gluten-free pastries. 

"I had a whole vision of what I wanted in this teahouse," Garcia says. "I wanted a place where people could come and feel relaxed. What we did here is truly create a world of our own."

Guests can take a piece of this fantasy-like world home because Serendip-a-Tea sells knickknacks too. Think vintage-inspired jewelry, one-of-a-kind teapots, and a selection of books, all crafted by local artisans.

Garcia and Abraham say they'd like to open a second location but don't have any definite plans yet. 

"The truth is, I had my vision, and I'm so grateful it has come true," Garcia says. "Once you walk in, you disconnect with the outside world, even if it's just for a quick tea break."

Serendip-a-Tea is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. 

Follow Clarissa Buch on Twitter.

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