The Tea Cozy

The property on which The Tea Cozy is built at 4286 Bridge Street has had more than a dozen owners but the house was built by Henry Williams in the late 1870s. Williams was a carpenter born in Wales and his wife, Sallie, was from England. Williams purchased the property from Jeffrey Phelan in 1877.

In 1897 Williams died and, since his wife had preceded him in death, he left the house and three other lots to Samuel Guthrie, a local merchant. Guthrie and his wife, Sarah, lived in the Guthrie-Bianchini House, of course. Samuel Guthrie died in 1905 but Sarah continued to own the house on Bridge Street until 1914 when she sold it to Margaret Thorndyke. This was the same year she sold the Guthrie-Bianchini House to Eugenio Bianchini.

The Tea Cozy on Bridge Street

The Tea Cozy on Bridge Street

Margaret Thorndyke was born Margaret Jarmon in Wales, Wisconsin, one of fourteen children. One of her older sisters, Mary Jarmon, was married to Thomas Evans who had purchased part of the Rancho Piedra Blanca and set up a ranch near Point Piedras Blancas. In 1879, another of her sisters, Elizabeth, came to California to visit and married Captain Lorin V. Thorndyke, head keeper of Piedras Blancas Light Station for thirty years from 1876 to 1906. Elizabeth and the Captain had two sons, Lorin V. Thorndyke, Jr. and John Emory Thorndyke. Elizabeth died in 1886 and, after a brief second marriage, the Captain married Margaret Jarmon who had also come to visit her sister in 1897.

When Captain Thordyke retired from the lighthouse, he and Margaret moved into a small cottage behind what is now Sebastian’s store in San Simeon which was owned by Lorin, Jr. at the time. In 1914 they moved to the house on Bridge Street and in 1917 the Captain died. In 1922 the title of the house was transferred to her two stepsons (also her nephews!) but Margaret continued to live there until her death in 1928. She is buried in an unmarked grave within the Thorndyke plot in the Cambria Cemetery at the end of Bridge Street.

George Bright purchased the house in 1929 and it stayed in his family until the 1970s when it was purchased by a real estate firm which owned it for about 10 years. In the mid 1980s Dr. Gerald and Marty Main bought the house and it became Robin’s Restaurant. Robin’s soon moved to the Souza house on Burton Drive replacing The Grey Fox Inn restaurant which went out of business. Marty Main then opened a restaurant in the house called The Little House on Bridge Street. In 1995, they leased the house to the Sewells who opened The Tea Cozy there.

The Sewells retired in May of 1999, and sold the business to Barry & Lee Anne Went who were the operators of the tea house for 11 years through 2010. They in turn sold the business to Tina Nickell who operated The Tea Cozy until early 2015.  In April, 2015, Brian and Abbey Lucas, former operators of the restaurant in Sebastian’s General Store, became the lessees and, on May 6, 2015, they opened up a restaurant in this location called simply Cafe.

7 Responses to “The Tea Cozy”

  1. B&J says:

    Barry:

    Thanks for that comment. We reworded the last paragraph to clarify it as you suggested.

    B&J

  2. Marty Main says:

    The Sewells retired in May of 1999 and sold the business to Barry and Lee Anne Went who were the operators of the Tea Cozy for 11 years through 2010. They in turn sold the business to Tina Nickell who operated The Tea Cozy until the first months of 2015. In April 2015, Abbey and Brian Lucas became the Lessees of the building and are now operating a restaurant at the historic site.

  3. B&J says:

    According to the web site, The Tea Cozy is closed as of early February, 2015.

  4. B&J says:

    Heather:

    We were not aware of that. Did Tina sell it to someone else or is The Tea Cozy history? In either case, when did that happen? It’s part of Cambria history so please tell us all you know about it.

    B&J

  5. Heather B. says:

    The Tea Cozy under the ownership of Tina Nickell has closed.

  6. B&J says:

    Barry:

    Thanks a lot for the update. We were hoping someone would fill us in on the recent developments at the Tea Cozy. That’s why we started this website in the first place!
    B&J

  7. Barry Went says:

    Thanks fo having this article on your website. Here’s an update to the recent history:

    The Sewells retired in May of 1999, and sold it to Barry & Lee Anne Went who were the owners and operators of the tea house for 11 years through 2010. They in turn sold the business to Tina Nickell who currently operates The Tea Cozy.

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