Crystal River is known for being one of the best places in the world to swim with Manatee. Which can make it enough for many people to fall in love with. Yet, when I discovered its famous Heritage Village I felt that I can just stay on this one tiny street for days.
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What is Heritage Village in Crystal River?
Heritage Village, Citrus Avenue, is several blocks long, and comprised of tiny shops and restaurants. It still holds the same charm as it did years ago when the village was predominantly all about fishing and little tourism impact.
The architecture is from the good ole days of general stores and mom-and-pop hardware and delicious home cooked meals at restaurants.
Once again, my quest for finding a unique and quaint restaurant was divulged to me by Hernando County Tourism Board. And I am forever grateful to Honey and Tara, who work with the tourism board, to tell me about Tea House 650.
Tea house 650 at Heritage Village
The best restaurant finds of our entire trip.
Besides the fact that I am a self-proclaimed tea addict and the idea of drinking good teas was appealing to me. That was until we arrived, and I realized that the restaurant itself had so much character. The actual eating area is mainly on an outdoor porch in the back. It is quite small with three tables outside and also two tables inside.
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Our waitress came out and of course, the first question to ask is which teas should we taste. With a huge menu only for teas, it was a really difficult choice.
With kids, we decided to stick to ice teas, and even that proved to be a challenge.
So we had a taste test.
Ironically, though, the best choice of the day for tea was an organic strawberry smoothie with berry tea and strawberry yogurt.
Now that the tea is chosen, the food is what truly impressed us the most. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team, Gail and Norm. Gail is the meet and greets lady, showing everyone around in the store and helping with knowledgeable info about teas. Norm, was the chef – the magic man.
Reading the menu, it was hard to gather the tastiness of the food until it was sitting in front of you and you wished that you ordered two of everything.
I stuck to what I felt more comfortable with: Chicken pot pie. It has been years since I had one, and this one has made me crave more.
For my oldest, I ordered a roast beef sandwich
And for my youngest the panini and soup platter. He’s not a big sandwich eater, but he does like soup so it was a great combo since I got a chance to try both.
My husband went out on a limb and got the Tabouli, feta and bean dish. And this was the one that was beyond words. I’ve never had good Tabouli and after too many failed attempts gave up on the whole Tabouli thing. But I don’t know what they do to this salad, it was out of this world.
With a full belly and happy kids playing in the backyard I decided to venture in and check out the store.
There is a reason Gail is there to help out. As much as I love tea, I have never heard of 90% of the ones she had.
The Tea house mainly serves lunch since they open at 10 am and close at 5 pm. So when you are visiting Crystal River, make sure to get yourself over for some good food, tasty tea and a walk around Heritage Village.
Heritage Village in Crystal River – Tea House Review