Lexington’s Greentree Tearoom recipe: Carrot Ginger Soup

Greentree Tearoom, which was inside Greentree Antiques at 521 W. Short St., shared the recipe for its Greentree Carrot and Ginger Soup in 2001.

Greentree Tearoom, which was inside Greentree Antiques at 521 W. Short St., shared the recipe for its Greentree Carrot and Ginger Soup in 2001.

2001 staff file photo

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Tasting the Past: Recipes from closed Lexington restaurants

Lexington loves local restaurants and reminiscing about favorite dishes from closed dining spots we wish to taste again. So we’ve been digging into the Herald-Leader archives, contacting local chefs who ran some of Lexington’s most popular restaurants and reaching out to veteran recipe collectors to pull together a collection for you to bring to your dinner table. Enjoy.

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It would be easy to pigeonhole Greentree Tearoom as a “ladies who lunch” place. And it was. But it wasn’t JUST that.

The downtown Lexington tea room, which served luncheon teas with a monthly prix fixe menu, was the kind of place were patrons could focus on each other and leave the always excellent food to chef John Martin.

Greentree Tearoom opened at 525 W. Short St. in 2000 in an historic cottage by Martin, Gay Reading and Karen Wiley Hollins. Reading said originally they thought it would be a place for quick business lunches. But the ladies “sort of took it over,” he said.

With elegant antiques, understated decor, white tablecloths, fresh flowers, real silverware and china to complement the food, Greentree Tearoom became the backdrop for occasions for generations of Lexingtonians.

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Karen Wiley Hollins, one of the owners of the Greentree Tea Room is shown with Greentree’s Carrot and Ginger Soup. DAVID PERRY LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

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The Benedictine spread at the Greentree Tearoom, in this April 2015 file photos, was a favorite of many patrons. Lexington Herald-Leader

Reading said the restaurant hosted several weddings as well as gatherings after memorial services and everything in between from birth celebrations to Sweet 16 parties and bridesmaid lunches. “We were cradle to grave,” he said in 2021.

The menu changed every month but always included seasonal scones with Fayette cream, savories such as egg salad finger sandwiches and cucumber slices with benedictine, quiches, soups, salads, pastries and desserts. And always tea, never coffee.

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The hot brown and Benedictine spread at the Greentree Tearoom were typical of the luncheon menu at the popular Lexington dining spot. Lexington Herald-Leader

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Rob Hawkins served tea to, from left, Nelia Padgett, Shar Montgomery, and Sheila Hancock at Greentree Tearoom where only tea, no coffee, was served, in May 2003. Janet Worne Lexington Herald-Leader

According to the Herald-Leader archives, in 2001 Teresa Sharkey of Washington, D.C. and her mother Zelma Sharkey of Lexington asked for the recipe for Greentree’s carrot and ginger soup after having lunch there and Martin obliged.

The tea room closed in March 2020 as the pandemic began. The owners hoped to reopen but by mid-2021 acknowledged that the restaurant would not be coming back and chose to focus instead on their antiques business.

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The Greentree Tearoom opened on Short Street in Lexington in 2000. It closed when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Lexington Herald-Leader

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From left, John Martin Jr., Karen Wiley Hollins, and Gay Reading, standing outside the house that have bought on West Short Street in February 2000. They remodeled it and turned it into a tea room and antiques shop. JOSEPH REY AU LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

From the Herald-Leader archives

This story was originally published May 26, 2022 6:00 AM.

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Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business reporter who also has covered agriculture, gambling, horses and hemp.
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