Although we feasted through the holidays, munched through the blizzard, and gorged through the frigid cold, we haven’t stopped eating yet. I looked in the winter-stocked freezer and found plenty of food still there. After copious cups of warming tea, the cabinet even now holds numerous tins of blacks, greens, and herbals, enough to open a tea shop. But when the sun threw warming rays our way today and the occasion to have lunch out with friends popped up, we never hesitated for a minute to leave the house for some lunch out.
After days of wind chills and icy temps, traveling down Highway 71 with sunshine streaming in the car windows was a delight. Sharing the ride with friends made it even better. We headed down to Heart and Home, an aging Ozark stone cottage sitting at the crossroads of two minor Missouri highways. The cottage had been a gift shop for several years when Linda the owner was convinced by an elderly lady to mingle a tea room in her business space. Linda is a darling person, and she admits she knows nothing about tea or coffee since she drinks neither. But she was eager for a new adventure and four months ago added Tea Room to her Heart and Home sign. She has been busy cooking, serving— and learning ever since.
The décor is minimal, leaning towards shabby chic. The teas are well known brands to some like Boston Teas, Tea for Life and Tea Forte. She does serve hot tea in bags, but brings everyone their own china tea pot with hot water and checks often to keep it satisfactorily filled. Prices are inexpensive. It is the food and personality that are the blue ribbon features of Heart and Home.
Each table has a loaded plate of banana or pumpkin bread; when diners are seated, a bowl of butter is added. They have a special of the day that might be something hearty like a meatloaf. The menu has a few varied salads, sandwiches, and soups or a combination. Heart and Home serves all sandwiches on homemade bread; soups are served in generous portions. Desserts are homemade, look and taste like something from the “good ole days” and cinnamon rolls are the specialty.
Heart and Home is not a place to go if you are looking for French cuisine, fancy desserts decorated with spiraling trims, or swanky label wines. But if you are looking for good food served with a smiling face and place to share “joy and warmth” over a cuppa with friends, seek out Heart and Home near Neosho.