Oakhurst Tea Room
- Oakhurst News -
Oakhurst Tea Room has been located in Somerset, PA for over seventy-five years. On July 12, 1933, Ernest W. Baker and his sister, Jean Spangler, along with their parents, Ira and Daisy Baker, started serving “All You Can Eat” Chicken and Waffle Dinners for fifty cents. Now in its fourth generation of family operation, the Oakhurst Tea Room has become a family tradition for customers and staff alike, our guests can dine at one of many buffets including the grand Smorgasbord Buffet, the perfect Sunday Brunch, and the weekday Luncheon Buffet, or the incredible Friday Night Seafood Buffet. Our physical appearance has also changed. Oakhurst has expanded from its original two story 30X60 building to its present-day structure boasting a beautiful Main Dining Room, several banquet rooms to accommodate groups up to 200, a cozy Lounge and a lovely Gift Shop.
As the story goes, the Oakhurst become known as the “Tea Room” for reasons other than tea. Prior to the repeal of Prohibition in December of 1933, the Oakhurst became a popular gathering place for gentlemen customers having ‘”tea” with their friends. The “tea” was illegal liquor served in tea pots, hence the name the Oakhurst Tea Room.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s big bands and attractions from New York City were featured. Popular groups like Ralph and Buddy Bond, the TopNotchers, and “Divena and Her Sensational Aqua-Tease” were just a few acts that made “Bake’s Place, as Oakhurst was commonly called after Ernie Baker, THE NIGHT SPOT for the surrounding community. Public transportation from the town of Somerset was even available. The Somerset-to Pittsburgh bus would drop off a lively crowd at 7:00 pm and pick them up at about 11:00 for the return trip home. (A lot of people missed the bus!)
After the passing of Ernie Baker in 1977, Jean and her husband Fred Spangler became the loving proprietors of the Oakhurst Tea Room. They began serving a Pennsylvania Dutch-Style Smorgasbord on Thursday nights. The Smorgasbord became so popular that it was soon being served six days a week and a Surf and Turf Buffet was added on Friday nights.
In 1982, the Spangler’s youngest daughter, Jackie and her husband, Jim DePhillips, bought the business from Fred and Jean. Over the next eighteen years, they continued the tradition of fine dining at the Oakhurst through much building expansion and the addition of creative new buffets and menu items. In addition to regular dining, the Oakhurst became a popular place for Wedding Receptions, Class Reunions, and family gatherings. The name Oakhurst Tea Room implied “a special place for your special occasion”.
A “passing of the spoon” came in November 2000 when Jim and now Rev. Jackie sold the business to their oldest child, Jim DePhillips and his wife, Lori. In the tradition of their family, Jim and Lori strive daily to create an enjoyable, family atmosphere for all their guests. We hope your visit here will be a memorable one.