Hello, Chicago friends. It’s time to get serious about tea and pastries. And we’ve got Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan to thank for this development, who along with his partner fashion designer Chloe Mendel, has recently reopened vegan haunt Madame Zuzu’s, which first opened in 2012.

“ZuZu’s is a dream in process. And we are excited to finally be able to open despite the challenges,” says Corgan in a company press release. “Our business model is simple: healthy living combined with an open-source venue for the arts, where everyone in our community can gather and share.”

“Madame ZuZu’s is a place for people to come together and enjoy fun healthy food and discover the beautiful world of fine teas. People often ask us ‘do you only eat grass?’ And I quickly learned that the delicious world of plants is so overlooked. We are here to bring you a taste of home to your table,” says Mendel in the same media statement.

Located at 1876 First Street in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, the 100% plant-based menu has soups, salads, sandwiches, bowls, and sweets. And tea. Lots and lots o’ tea. The café is open Tuesday through Sunday.

Personally, we think starting the day with the yogurt parfait made with cashew yogurt, homemade blueberry compote, house granola, and fresh strawberries chased down with a cup of tea from their extensive offerings or reishi cappuccino sounds like an excellent idea. (On more indulgent days, you can bet we’re all over the chocolate chip banana bread. Come lunch, we’re all about the salad niçoise salad with homemade chickpea “tuna” salad proving a welcome swap for the real deal or the tofu banh mi sandwich. The Chinoise crunch salad with red cabbage, carrots, cucumber, crispy wontons, and more, slathered in a cilantro and citrus-sesame vinaigrette also has our name all over it.

Per the restaurant’s press release, Madame ZuZu’s “has grown into a nationally recognized tea brand, renowned for its rare and exclusive blends. This new Highland Park location will carry on ZuZu’s tradition of a whimsical atmosphere but in a larger, Art Deco space reminiscent of a 1930s tea salon.” The space will also be put into use as a “cultural hub” with live broadcasting and musical performances.

The Rare Tea Cellar has partnered with Madame ZuZu’s to offer a variety of carefully sourced and locally blended teas from farms all around the world, resulting in some of the finest and rarest teas available on the planet,” the press release continues.

If you’re in the Chicago area, place your order online here for pickup. For those of us outside Chi-town who are tea enthusiasts, you can order some delectable loose leaf teas here. Despite the tough times, we hope Corgan and Mendel’s endeavor is a smashing success.

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