Lexington Greentree Tearoom Recipe: Carrot Ginger Soup

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Greentree Tearoom, which was inside Greentree Antiques at 521 W. Short St., shared the recipe for its Greentree Carrot Ginger Soup in 2001.

personnel file photo from 2001

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It would be easy to classify Greentree Tearoom as a “ladies lunching” place. And it was. But it wasn’t just that.

Lexington’s downtown tearoom, which served lunch teas with a monthly prix fixe menu, was the kind of place where patrons could focus on each other and leave the always-great food to themselves. Chief John Martin.

Greentree Tearoom opened at 525 W. Short St. in 2000 in a historic cottage owned by Martin, Gay Reading and Karen Wiley Hollins. Reading said they originally thought it would be a place for quick business lunches. But the ladies “kind of took over,” he said.

With elegant antiques, understated decor, white tablecloths, fresh flowers, genuine silverware and china to accompany the food, the Greentree Tea Room has become the backdrop of occasions for generations of Lexingtonians.

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Karen Wiley Hollins, one of the owners of Greentree Tea Room, is shown with Greentree’s Carrot Ginger Soup. DAVID PERRY LEXINGTON HERALD-CHIEF

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The Benedictine spread at Greentree Tea Room, in this April 2015 photo file, was a favorite of many patrons. Lexington Herald-Leader

Reading said the restaurant has hosted several weddings as well as gatherings after memorial services and everything in between from baby showers to Sweet 16 parties and bridesmaid luncheons. “We were cradle to grave,” he said in 2021.

The menu changed monthly but always included seasonal Creme de Fayette scones, savory items such as egg salad sandwiches and cucumber slices Benedict, quiches, soups, salads, pastries and desserts. And always tea, never coffee.

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Greentree Tea Room’s Benedictine warm brown spread was typical of the lunch menu at Lexington’s popular eatery. Lexington Herald-Leader

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Rob Hawkins served tea to, from left, Nelia Padgett, Shar Montgomery and Sheila Hancock at the Greentree Tearoom where only tea, not coffee, was served, in May 2003. Janet Worne Lexington Herald-Leader

According to Herald-Leader records, in 2001 Teresa Sharkey of Washington, D.C. and her mother Zelma Sharkey of Lexington requested the recipe for Greentree’s Carrot Ginger Soup after having lunch there and Martin agreed.

The tea room closed in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic. The owners had hoped to reopen, but in mid-2021 they recognized that the restaurant would not return and opted to focus on their antiques business instead.

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The Greentree Tea Room opened on Short Street in Lexington in 2000. It closed when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Lexington Herald-Leader

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From left, John Martin Jr., Karen Wiley Hollins and Gay Reading, standing outside the house they bought on West Short Street in February 2000. They renovated it and turned it into a tea room and antique shop . JOSEPH REY AU LEXINGTON HERALD-CHIEF

Excerpt from the archives of the Herald-Leader

Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business journalist who has also covered agriculture, gambling, horses and hemp.
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