For nearly four decades, Bernadine Blader operated a part antique shop, part tea room in Excelsior. What started as an antique shop in an old livery stable in 1974 grew into the Antiquity Rose Tea Room. It gained a reputation for serving delicious homemade soups, salads, and desserts, with a side of antiques looking for a new home.
Antiquity Rose Tea Room offered guests a unique shopping and dining experience in the old Bardwell house just off Water Street. Shoppers could browse through rooms of vintage lamps, china, furniture, jewelry, and of course, tea sets. When they finished perusing the merchandise, visitors could sit in either the tea room or dining room and have a bite to eat with a cup of one of the tasty teas on offer. If they liked the table they sat at, the chairs, or the china their food came on, they could buy it. Almost everything was for sale.
The house itself held a rich history before Bernadine and her husband Bob purchased it in 1976. It was built in 1879 to handle overflow guests from Frank Bardwell’s White House Hotel a few blocks away. Bardwell’s son, the town’s undertaker, used it for several years after that as his headquarters.
After acquiring the house, Bernadine and Bob made a few adjustments to the layout to accommodate a commercial kitchen. They later enclosed an unheated porch to use as a dining room separate from the main tea room.
Antiquity Rose Tea Room closed its doors in January 2015 when Bernadine and Bob decided to pursue other interests. Thankfully, Bernadine was always open to sharing the recipes of the homemade goodies created in her kitchen. She once included the words, “A recipe shared is a joy shared,” with a recipe requested by the Minneapolis Star Tribune readers. That gift allows us still to enjoy a piece of the Antiquity Rose Tea Room.
Chicken and Rice Hotdish
- ½ cup onion, minced
- ¾ cups celery, diced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cheese soup
- 1 can water
- 1 package frozen broccoli
- Saute onions and celery in butter until tender.
- Combine cooked chicken, cooked rice, soups, water, broccoli, and seasoning.
- Pour into a buttered casserole and bake at 350° for 1 hour.