231 E 5th St, New York, NY | Directions 1000340.727165 -73.989626
Daily 11 am - 9 pm
Neighborhoods: Downtown, East Village
A wonderful oasis of calm and home baking – After a sweaty day in NYC I needed a cuppa and Podunk came to the rescue. Down what appears to be a residential street lies this bizarre and wonderful tea room. Furnished with assorted garden tables and chairs, giving it a little junk shop chic, the owner bakes up a storm and serves a wonderful tea (you choose from a list of over 100 blends). The day I went the place was filled with the scent of freshly baked cinnamon apple cake (which tasted as good as it smelt). My daughter and I sat and had a quiet cup of tea and cake and it was lovely.
As for the moaners below, may I suggest you stick to the usual suspects and leave Podunk to those of us who truly appreciate the peace and tranquility of one of New York's gems?
My home away from home – My best friend introduced me to Podunk a month after it first opened. Now, 6 years later, I still find this haven to be my home away from home. I go in atleast once a month and, against some reviewers' opinions, have never had an experience less than excellent. Elsbeth (the owner) takes great pride in her 'shop' and even more pride in her patrons. Beyond the never failing tea recommendations, amazing cupcakes, and that really yummy coconut and chocolate thing that I can never remember the name of, I always find Podunk the perfect place to catch up with a new-old friend (Elsbeth) and spend some time alone reading or writing. If you are looking for a starbucks type environment where you can linger without buying anything or talk loundly on your phone or click away at the laptop or email incessantly on your blackberry, this place isn't for you. If you are looking for a sweetly quiet oasis without the "typical NY hubbub" this is your place!
Perfect Sunday Afternoon – The owner of this store is wonderful. She is so sweet and the food/tea are excellent! The prices are a lot lower than most tea places. Seats aren't terribly comfortable, and there is no bathroom! Also, cash only!
Oh BooHoo, They don't have a bathroom – Do I have this right? You were in a place that, duh, everyone loves, left to go to the bathroom, still came back for tea, had an hour and a half to enjoy the tea and conduct your lesson and when they asked for the table they gave you FREE tea. And this is the worst thing that's ever happened to you in eighteen years? You are one seriously lucky teacher (Mind YOU, your composition skills are sadly lacking.) Also, I'm not sure why Saturday between 2 and 4, a time when Podunk is notoriously packed (since many people associate that time with High Tea Time) struck you as a good time for teaching in a tearoom. Have you considered a Classroom? Maybe your own office?
EVIL OWNERS FORBID USE OF BATHROOMS – I went into Podunk on Sat. afternoon at 2 pm to meet my student to conduct a private English conversation class. I ordered tea for 2 . When asked to use the bathroom, we were told the there are no bathrooms. We had to go to the Moonstruck diner across the street. About an hour and half later, this gentleman who works in the tea shop rudely came over to my table to take my tea tray away. I told him I wasn't done which he replied to me that I have been here long enough. Then minutes later, the woman with the bonnet and spectacles rudely walked over to my table and told me to leave without even paying for the tea.. She said she needed the tables and that I have been in her shop too long taking up space. Mind you, the tables were not all occupied. I have never been treated soo rude after my 18 years of living in NYC. I am disgusted by the service of this shop. How can a food establishment not allow people to use the bathroom. Why have a tea salon if there is a time frame for how long one is allowed to spend in a shop. I warn anyone who steps foot into this establishment of these nasty owners who dress up pretending to look like humble nursery rhyme characters who then turn into ugly evil witches!
This Place is Better than Magic, Cuz You Can Count on It – The first time I walked into Podunk--two weeks ago--I was speechless. Every table was full (except a round picnic table in the back--I took it over). The lights are so bright and the place is so clean and cute that I just started smiling as I approached the counter. A woman behind the counter--she looked like a Mrs. Beasley doll--was arranging little buttons on plates--no, they were cookies--and another plate had small dishes of jam in jewel-bright colors, and scones about the same size as the jam dishes. She asked me what was on my mind, and I asked for the tea list. She said, "Make yourself at home, and holler when you know what you'd like." HOLLER. I ordered a cream tea--that was the jam and scones, and when I was done I said, "What kind of tea is this?" I meant the country of origin of this kind of tea service. She said it was just how she liked to have tea and she hoped others would too. Well, others do--that's me. And the room was so noisy with people enjoying their tea, too, and they seemed to share my point of view.
OH. I did see her ask two girls to leave--they said they were waiting for someone but even after I had my tea, they still hadn't ordered. Maybe she needs one of those snooty waiters to manage the room. All I can say is Podunk made me very happy. I will return there soon.
I Adore Podunk--What's with the reviews by non-customers? – Once a month or so, I leave my midtown office (I work in television) for a quiet street in the East Village where I have a ladies' luncheon tea at Podunk. Six buttered cucumber sandwiches bracket a beautiful platter of fresh veggies and greens, and cake or scones and cream finish my meal. I sometimes order bite-size tea pies instead of the sandwiches, when I want something hot. Going to Podunk is like taking a mini-vacation, as others have noticed; the room is usually quiet enough for reading or reflection, even when there are conversations going on at other tables. I've even come to recognize other customers who deeply love the place--I think we all believe we're "in" on something special. Everyone I've brought to the tiny tearoom likes it enormously, and the owner has been unfailingly courteous at the minimum and at best, warmly welcoming. So I'm not sure why she's gotten the negative press, or what provoked her, or why people who in their reviews admit that they weren't even paying customers are allowed to comment here. It's not exactly a community center, no matter how welcome you feel there--it's a business. That old adage about the customer is always right only kicks in if, duh, you're actually a customer.
Owner yelled violently at me; cursed repeatedly. – I *do not* recommend this establishment.
Yesterday my friend and I met here. He purchased a specialty tea. The table was small, I arrived after him, and our time was limited; I did not. As we left, a man who seemed to be the owner stood behind the counter and yelled violently at me. He called me a b*tch several times, kept repeating that it was not a "f*ing mcDonald's" and said he never wanted to see my prissy b*tch face again. My friend and I stood there aghast as the owner continued ranting for 2-3 minutes. We just stared at him and left.
I caution against management with such uncontrolled, visceral anger. It would have been far more effective for this owner to kindly suggest that I purchase some [jasmine, etc] tea when I next return.
I thought it was curious that the place was mostly-deserted. Now I am not surprised.
The reviews above indicate that this is not uncommon behavior for this couple.
Home away from home!!! – As a regular at Podunk, it is my second home. Sometimes wanting to camp out and waking up to the wonderful aromas of Elspeth's baked goodies. The environment is friendly, relaxing and quite. It's rare to find a place like Podunk , it's my oasis from the busy city. The decor of antiques and vintage furniture draws you in and you fall in love with the place. Then you have the habit of coming back every week and becoming a regular. The selection of teas are vast and impressive. I recommend the toasted coconut It's one of my favorites. All of Elspeth's baked goodies are praise worthy. I recommend trying everything because I love all her baked goods. If I had to recommend a baked goodie on the first visit, it would be the cardamon cake. Just keep going back till you've tried it all.
All the negative feedback on Podunk is a bunch of crock. I'm sure the people who had bad comments on Podunk were rude and being inconsiderate. There are policies that aren't blatantly written: like no cell phones and laptops, So what !!! Be respectful and be considerate to Elspeth other people. Plus people came to enjoy their tea peacefully. I only have good recommendations for Podunk. By the way Elspeth is the sweetest and nicest person. She is AWESOME!!!!
the best tea I've ever had – I love podunk very much. The scones are fluffy and the cookies are tasty. There are many teas, hot and cold.
the lavender lime iced tea is very nice on the yellow table they have outside when it's warm and in the cold
hot tea like vanilla or mint is with a book or friend is nice and relaxing. I love the Cream Tea with, scones with jam and cream and fruit compote. It's a great place to go when you want to read alone or when you need something new to try, or to take your friends to. The owner is very nice and helped me pick out tea when it was my first time. I would recommend it to anybody.
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