By Elise Franco
When Claudia Zacharko was looking to purchase a restaurant in the Mahoning Valley, the Piccadilly Parlour was the last place she expected to fall in love with.
Zacharko said she was interested in owning a Mexican restaurant to reflect her heritage, but a friend found out the tea room was for sale and persuaded her to check it out.
Now, 10 years since taking over Piccadilly, Zacharko couldn’t imagine not going to work there every day.
“When she brought me here, it brought me back to my childhood, when I would have tea parties with my dad,” she said. “This place was meant to be mine.”
Piccadilly Parlour, 114 S. Broad St., has been a fixture in Canfield for 20 years.
Zacharko said the charming tea room, adorned with Victorian decor and a dress-up closet for young girls, is a place people come when they want to slow down for a little while.
Piccadilly is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and offers more than 30 varieties of tea, as well as a full menu, coffees and desserts.
“People sit and talk and make the time for each other. No one is in a hurry here,” she said. “You’ve got to be able to appreciate and value what’s going on in your life.”
On any given afternoon Zacharko said memories are made every time a patron steps through the door, whether it’s a table of old friends catching up or mothers sipping tea with their young daughters while wearing fancy hats and dresses.
“We get people who remember coming here with their mother or grandmother, and now they have their daughter with them,” she said. “And kids know when they walk in that this is a special place.”
Jean Christner of Boardman, and Barbara Bradley of Champion, meet at Piccadilly once a month and have been doing so for the past year.
“It’s the atmosphere that we like,” Christner said. “It’s a nice little tea room, and we don’t have another place like this around here.”
Bradley said they appreciate being able to enjoy each other’s company without feeling rushed.
“They let us alone,” she said. “We can sit here as long as we like just chatting, and they don’t try to push us out the door.”
Kendra Fischer, who has worked for Zacharko for four years, said she looks forward to coming home from college just to get back to work at the tea room.
“It’s a good place to come home to,” Fischer said. “It’s very laid back and girly. We see these ladies come in and just enjoy themselves.”
Zacharko said the past 10 years have flown by, and she hopes to eventually expand the business and add more tea rooms in the area.
For now, Zacharko said she’s happy with what she has.
“I’m comfortable with where I am,” she said. “I see smiles, happiness, people together, and I know I helped make a moment in their lives.”