Christmas hasn’t just come early to the Woman’s Exchange of Memphis. The cozy East Memphis tea room and retail shop isn’t making any pretenses of waiting until after Thanksgiving to celebrate Christmas. The holiday seems to have exploded and left a light dusting of green and red and glitter in its wake.
When I was there for lunch earlier today, there were shimmery reindeer on the mantle, a posse of life-sized elves, and miniature trees on every table in the tea room.
The Woman’s Exchange has been around since 1885, a charity “helping others help themselves” with the proceeds from their retail shop and lunch-only restaurant.
The tea room is geriatric fabulous. The women of the Woman’s Exchange take orders, serve food and refill glasses of iced tea for the mostly senior citizen crowd. The menu, which changes daily, has three or four plate choices – one meat plate, one vegetable plate, and one salad plate. All of the plates come with a drink and dessert (today, it was bread pudding).
I picked the chicken salad, which came with a scoop of relish-y chicken salad, fresh fruit, pimento cheese finger sandwiches and a deviled egg. It’s total comfort food – not too spicy, not experimental at all – just the sort of food you would eat at a lunch at the home of a fabulous 1950’s housewife.
The Woman’s Exchange is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. After you eat, check out their shop, which features items from select local consignors. There are a lot of children’s clothes (handmade by Woman’s Exchange seamstresses), decorative housewares, books and holiday decorations.
88 Racine Street
Memphis, TN 38111