At first smack, the bulletin hanging in the front window of St. Paul’s Russian Tea House signals nothing but sorrow. “Closed Until Further Notice” rarely has a happy ending, after all.
Despite operating from the same two-story white house that was once their family home, Nikolai and Linda Alenov, aka the world’s cutest husband-and-wife duo (who are also behind four decades’ worth of delightful dumplings and desserts), abruptly closed shop February 1.
With little more than the paper sign directing their clientele to the Tea House’s official Facebook page, this devotee was left locked out. Cold and shook, sitting in a parked car, she worried for the couple she liked to think recognized her, as they doted on her, and, to be fair, each customer, like kindly grandparents.
Rest assured: All is not lost in borscht country. In a post dated February 6, the pair elaborated on the indefinite closure, explaining that “Nikolai has recently had some heart issues. After a successful stent surgery last week he is on the road to recovery,” before thanking everyone for their prayers and well wishes.
Reaching out to the Alenovs—as much in support as for comment—City Pages was reassured earlier this week that all is progressing well on the recovery front. In a response signed by the couple, Nikolai suggested, “If I keep progressing as well as now, I will probably reopen the Tea House in May for only five Fridays, as we usually shut down for the summer.”
When it comes to facing the winters ahead, the Alenovs are no more certain how they’ll handle them than most of us: “We are not sure of our long-term plans to reopen in November as we usually have done. It all depends on what happens this summer.”
Relatable, Tea House.
The bottom line? Check the Russian Tea House’s Facebook page for updates before setting out to see them anytime soon. But don’t fret; like all the most important things in life—handmade, tender vereneki, or healing from invasive surgeries—they just take time.
Especially when they come from the heart.