Mint Tea, a unique tea shop and bistro restaurant that has been an anchor of Uptown Village since 2008, will close its doors at the end of December.
Owner Jenna Eckert said she has sold the building, a former single-family home at 2014 Main St., as the result of a divorce. Although she has not sold the business, she said she has made no plans to open elsewhere. A Vietnamese couple who live in east Vancouver have bought the building and plan to open a Vietnamese restaurant, she said. Eckert said she intended to remain in the community.
Eckert and her then-husband, Abdul Akdi, first went into business in the neighborhood in 2002. The original store initially was filled with imported Moroccan rugs, lanterns, furniture and drums from Morocco, Akdi’s place of birth. Their move to the present location allowed Eckert to fulfill her dream of opening a cafe.
“It isn’t what I anticipated. It isn’t what I wanted,” Eckert said of the upcoming closure of the tea house. “We had 13 great years. We loved this vibrant community and I loved being a part of it.”
Indeed, Mint Tea played a central role in building that community by hosting events, including Full Moon Drum Circles, that were held from spring through fall.
Besides being a cafe and tea house, the business has stayed true to its retail roots with a variety of wares from Morocco. Eckert said those items are now for sale at heavily discounted prices.
Eckert said she enjoyed developing a farm-to-table menu using local, sustainable ingredients, even though it was the most time-consuming and challenging part of the business. “We got to pursue that in Vancouver, where it’s not that common,” she said. She remains a strong booster of Uptown Village and downtown.
“I think it continues to grow and bring in new and interesting people,” Eckert said. “When people visit downtown Vancouver they sense there’s something real cool about what’s going on here.”