Sarah Melli and her husband Salar bought the residence six years ago with the intention of seeking municipal historic resource status and offering a restaurant inside. It has since been designated and restored, but now their plan is to base their growing tea shop out of the house.
"We'll have seating where you can come in and have a cup of tea. Salar is probably going to be doing some cookies, and our scones are going to be coming back, but it won't be a full restaurant like it used to be," said Melli, who added that her and her husband currently live in the Alberta Avenue-area residence.
"It is a historic home, and we want it to still feel like you're walking into a house. There's really interesting, original character and trim and woodwork in the house that we wouldn't want to change because that's part of the part of the historic aspect of it."
The business was initially forced to shut down in March 2020 when its home of two and a half years, Rutherford House, was closed because of COVID-19. Unlike other restaurants, Vintage Fork wasn't allowed to offer delivery and pickup services.
But customers quickly began inquiring about buying the high-quality tea the boutique restaurant was known for, so the Mellis decided to pivot and create an online tea shop.
"We just decided that this is our new path, and we're all in, we're going for it," Melli told Taproot. "We had 12 tea flavours at the restaurant and now we have over 70. We're hoping to have over 100 by the end of this year."