With every table set perfectly and the smell of freshly baked white chocolate and cranberry scones in the air, Theresa Paterno greeted customers as they walked in for breakfast.
The daily routine always brings in someone new from outside in the Laurel Square (Pathmark and K-mart) shopping center, eagerly searching for something unique. After five successful years in Point Pleasant Borough, The Scone Shoppe has moved to Brick, bringing its classic charm and family atmosphere with it.
“I love entertaining, it’s one of my favorite things to do,” said Paterno, the restaurant’s owner. “I’ve been entertaining since I was a child, and I love to bake.”
The restaurant, simultaneously casual and elegant, and retail scone shop is Paterno’s brainchild, born out of an afternoon tea event at a library in Belleville, her former hometown, more than 15 years ago.
“I thought, ‘how cool is it to do afternoon tea?’” she said. “I was totally taken by the afternoon tea concept.”
Being a prolific host from a big Italian-American family, the afternoon tea idea was transformed into both a restaurant and a unique experience for customers, who are treated to delicious food and an atmosphere that consists of individual, antique china at every table setting. Everyone is served with antique tea pots, tea cups and saucers for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.
“It’s like my signature,” said Paterno. “I use it because with most people, nobody usually takes it out of the closet. Women are so busy, so to take the good china out, it becomes an all-day event. So we use it here every day, and it makes the shop what it is. Every tea cup is different.”
The restaurant, men-friendly too, has a full breakfast menu and sandwiches for lunch, but the signature scones are what made the business locally famous at its previous location on Bridge Avenue in Point Pleasant Borough. Here, the scones, baked on site from family recipes, are often eaten as dessert.
The business emphasizes family as well. Paterno’s mother works there most days of the week, and family photos can be found on the east wall of the storefront. A dinner out with her husband helped Paterno choose the business’s name.
“I came up with the name sitting in the Cheesecake Factory with my husband,” she said. “They’ve made a whole business out of ‘The Cheesecake Factory,’ so I said, ‘I’m going to be called The Scone Shoppe.’”
Parking issues at the previous location, plus a large client base in Brick drove Paterno, a Point Borough resident, to town. Since opening the doors to her new location earlier this year, she’s pitched in to help the community with numerous fundraisers and has hosted a number of local organizations.
“I love Brick,” she said. “A lot of my customer base is from Brick, so I really enjoy being here.”
Paterno’s business revolves around making memories and spending time with those we care about most. In the coming months, she’ll be hosting more “Mom and Me Princess Tea” days on the weekends, where mothers and their young daughters can enjoy some good food (hot dogs, pizza bagels and vegetables for the kids; finger sandwiches for moms), then scones for dessert. During the three-course afternoon tea, the Ice Queen – a take on Princess Elsa from the Disney movie “Frozen” – makes an appearance.
“It’s memorable with things like that,” Paterno said. “I think tea parties should be done all over. It’s such a different way to look at a party and enjoy a party.”
The restaurant is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 12 noon Saturdays and Sundays in the Laurel Square shopping center, 1930 Route 88 (near Pathmark), Brick. The shop also hosts showers and private parties.