Known for her restaurant, Charlotte’s Eats & Sweets, this collector pours her own flavor into the décor of her beloved Keo eatery
COLLECTOR Charlotte Bowls HOMETOWN Keo HER OBSESSION Teapots HOW IT BEGAN A watery blue teapot with a feminine silhouette caught Charlotte’s eye while visiting with her husband Curtis’ family. The piece, held by Charlotte here, belonged to Curtis’ grandmother and was proudly displayed in his mother’s china cabinet. Through the years, the teapot was handed down, and it became one of hundreds she would come to own.
MANY PEOPLE KNOW YOU AS THE PIE MAVEN OF CHARLOTTE’S EATS AND SWEETS IN KEO, BUT THE TEAPOTS REVEAL A BIT OF YOUR PERSONAL TASTE. Yes, they do. I have always loved teapots and have been collecting them for more than 30 years. My daughter and I go antiquing a lot, and for some reason I just go to the teapots every time. I started collecting a few in my home, and then after we started the restaurant, we moved this piece [a large wooden hutch] out of the pharmacy area [of what used to be Leake’s Drug Store] and I thought, “that looks like a good place for my teapots.”
YOUR CUSTOMERS OVER THE PAST 21 YEARS HAVE PROBABLY SEEN YOUR COLLECTION GROW AND EVOLVE ALONGSIDE THE RESTAURANT. WHAT DO THEY THINK ABOUT THEM? I often see customers looking at them, flipping them over, and some will even take them down to get a better view. I think they appreciate coming in and seeing the different styles, and I hear them say, “my mama used to have one of those” or “I can remember when I was a kid and my grandma had one of those.” It’s kind of like the pies we make here—they both bring back memories.
HAVE ANY OF YOUR CUSTOMERS CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR COLLECTION? Actually, a lot of them bring me teapots, and one of my favorites came from a customer. She stuck her head in the kitchen door while we were in the lunch rush one day and said she wanted to talk to me when I got a minute. She told me she had recently lost her mother and found a teapot in her mom’s belongings when they were cleaning out her home. She wanted me to have it, if I liked it. Of course, I loved it, and I wrote her a note to thank her and she wrote me back telling me how happy it made her that I loved it. The teapot she gave me is a sweet gold-and-white one that is on display here.
WELL, THE ONLY QUESTION THAT REMAINS IS, HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR TEA? Ironically, I prefer my tea with sugar, lemon—and LOTS of ice! My husband loves hot tea though.
Charlotte’s Eats & Sweets serves lunch Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m in downtown Keo. For more info on their menu or pies, call (501) 842-2123.