Rosebriar Dining in the Country
Rosebriar In The News
Tea time:
Rosebriar pours out old-time hospitality
By Jennifer Vollmert, Special to the Commercial Appeal
Saturday, August 15, 2009
On a recent Saturday morning, Debbie Sisk explained the art of taking tea to 11 guests situated around the dining room table.
"For the Victorians, tea time was a time to gossip," Sisk explained. "They never discussed religion or politics."
As the ladies were served their first cup of tea, the gossip began -- "I wonder if the queen has matching undergarments for each outfit?" someone asked.
The tea was the monthly meeting of a group of Christian women known as the "Rhinos."
The setting was the Rosebriar restaurant, in a house on 35 acres with gardens and a pond, in Eads.
Sisk owns the restaurant, which offers tea, lunch and dinner for special occasions, and she does all the cooking. Events Rosebriar hosts include bridal showers, baby showers, church group meetings, Red Hat clubs, birthdays, anniversaries, holiday celebrations and company luncheons and dinners.
Tea time is a specialty of the Rosebriar restaurant, as "Rhinos" Jean Otte (right) and Jeanne Garrett are about to discover. A metal teapot hanging from a post marks the entrance to the Rosebriar, which Debbie Sisk operates in her home in Eads.

The Rhinos were dining at Rosebriar a second time. It was group member Louelen Dearen's idea to take tea for their monthly meeting.
Rosebriar Teapot Sign
Rhinos Teaparty "Ooohs" and "aahs" filled the room as Sisk and her sister, Delories Lyon, served the tea, savories and sweets. The menu included an African tea and a black tea topped with rose petal cream and served in delicate china cups.

There were cucumber sandwiches, asparagus feta rolls, a tomato and red pepper soup, lemon cranberry scones with strawberry jam and and lemon verbena box cake with pink rose cream.
Following the tea service, the guests strolled to a mini-shop set up in the kitchen, where Rosebriar sells specialty foods and teas as well as its cookbook, published in 2006, which includes 158 recipes. Diners are welcome to walk through the home's parlors and sitting rooms.
Before they left, the Rhinos reserved a date around Christmas time, joining a holiday season calendar that is filling quickly.
Rosebriar started about 16 years ago after Debbie, 50, and husband, Rick, 51, built their house in Eads. The home was built to accommodate Debbie's dream to have a tea room and a place to entertain.
"My dream was to have a unique twist on Southern hospitality," she says. "I wanted people to let me cater their parties in my home."
The name "Rosebriar" stems from Sisk's love of roses. The gardens are filled with roses, which Sisk uses in her cooking. She does not spray the bushes, so the flowers are edible. Sisk also grows fresh herbs and seasonal vegetables -- tomatoes, squash, zucchini, green beans and onions.
It is a family business. Sisk's sister has worked with her for 10 years. Lyon irons the linens, washes the dishes and helps serve the guests. If the party is more than 20, Sisk hires additional help to serve. Debbie loves being her own boss.
"I control the books. If I want a day off, I do not book anyone that day," she said.
A major challenge to the business came when they added William, now 6, to the family.
"We don't want him to feel like he's not at home," Sisk said, since Rosebriar is both home and work. "We purposely make family time and make this a home for him."
Another challenge, Debbie said, has been in getting the word out about Rosebriar.
"Our customers over the years have mostly been from word of mouth," she said. "We are not as far out as people think. We're 30 minutes from anywhere."
Sisk holds an open house at Rosebriar around the Christmas holidays. "I'm halfway booked for the holidays already," she said. "I get calls from people who tell me they cooked their entire Thanksgiving dinner from my cookbook," Sisk said. "It's all easy cooking."
Seminars are offered at Rosebriar on a variety of subjects -- tea etiquette, table etiquette, herbs and gardening. Sisk's passion for her work continues to grow.
"I want to give people a great dining experience," she said. Some repeat customers book family holidays at Rosebriar, for the meals and to have family time together.
"This is a place where guests feel they have stepped back in time," Sisk said.
ROSEBRIAR RESTAURANT
Owner: Debbie Sisk
Phone: 867-7532
Address: 155 Lynn Road, Eads
Hours: By appointment only

Web site: rosebriar dining.com (includes information about booking, and summer seminars)
2009 Scripps Newspaper Group Online