It’s a storm in a teacup as iconic cafe is put up for sale

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THE owner of one of Edinburgh’s most iconic tea houses has vowed to continue the business despite putting the original shop up for sale.

Tea lovers across the Capital expressed concern after the Loopy Lorna’s branch in Morningside Road closed its doors.

But Gaynor Salisbury, who has won national awards for creating the popular brand, said the marketing of the £75,000 lease did not necessarily mean she would sell.

And she was at pains to point out the other Loopy Lorna’s branch at the nearby Churchill Theatre was still open and thriving.

Ms Salisbury, who has battled breast cancer, having been diagnosed only two months after opening the first shop, told the Evening News: “Just because it is on the market does not mean it is not going to re-open as Loopy Lorna’s tea house again.

“All I can really say is I am undecided. Loopy Lorna’s at the Churchill Theatre is still very much open, the first premises has closed for the moment but not necessarily for good.”

It is understood the Morningside Road outlet needs refurbished, and the appeal of moving further up the road was to accommodate larger parties because there was more room.

Ms Salisbury, who formerly ran a restaurant, won a prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2010.

The year before that, its chef Michelle Phillips was recognised at the Scottish Chef Awards.

Within weeks of opening, Loopy Lorna’s became one of the most popular and diverse focal points in Morningside.

Judges who handed her the title were impressed with how the idea of a tea house could be progressed into a community facility.

It was named Loopy Lorna’s after Ms Salisbury’s mother, who died of lung cancer 14 years ago.

The company behind the proposed sale said it presented “an excellent opportunity to acquire a prominent trading unit in the heart of one of Edinburgh’s favoured suburbs”.

News of the closure provoked debate on social networking site Twitter, with one tweeter calling it “the best tea parlour in the world”.

Meadows/Morningside councillor Paul Godzik added: “It will be sorely missed as its ambience and style is what people know and love.

“It quickly became a Morningside institution and a lot of people are now mourning its passing.

“Whoever takes it on I’m sure will know how successful it has been and therefore keep it as a cafe. There are a lot of people saddened by this news.”

amorris@edinburghnews.com