Poland native Anna Allen, longtime resident of Durbin South Africa, has opened the Forest View Tea House, with an international flavor, in the Village Centre shopping center. Here, her colleague Dennie Ohrazda hosts the front counter in Allen’s immaculate shop.
Photo by Marshall Smith

Anna Allen, native of Poland and 20-year resident of Durbin, South Africa, has recently opened Forest View Tea House in Idyllwild’s Village Centre complex. The tea house is immaculate, charming and has a distinct international flavor that reflects Allen’s own background.

After South Africa, where Allen owned and operated Anna’s Tea Garden, she lived in the United Kingdom and in Vienna. She also worked on a farm in Zambia as personal assistant to the farm manager.

Her Idyllwild tea house features menu items from varied international sources, including a special brandy pudding that hails from South Africa and high tea items that one would experience in a proper English tea house.

“You can have beautiful food that is also healthy for you,” said Allen. “My menu changes daily because everything on the menu is freshly made. I love experimenting.”

Options with no refined sugar and those that are gluten-free are available.

On Allen’s counter were many baked items that begged to be eaten, especially an apple pudding/pie. “Our light meals [sandwiches and soups] are always made from scratch with the freshest ingredients. We are proud of our extensive choice of teas. Try something new or order an old favorite. Our coffee is freshly brewed and sourced locally.”

What is most impressive about the tea house is its tranquility. It feels restful. Allen has only been open two weeks but her business is building and her food is visually appealing and tasty.

She is open Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. She is closed Wednesday.

New Idyology owners Kelli Cooper and Agatha Frank are moving the dial and adding imaginative new touches to their recent acquisition.

Friends for more 20 years, long-time South Bay residents and currently residing in Huntington Beach, the duo is brimming with enthusiasm and plans to upscale the historic bar and restaurant while maintaining its reputation for friendliness and late-night hours. In 1969, the location was one of six original Chart House restaurants. The first opened in Aspen in 1961, with other locations in Waikiki, Newport Beach, Shelter Island, San Diego and Coronado.

Cooper and family have catering and food-truck backgrounds. “Restaurants are hard but food trucks are really rough,” said Cooper of her previous dessert food-truck business. “You’re in constant marketing mode and flexibility is so necessary.” That marketing background and ability to make fast changes will serve well as Cooper and Frank roll out their plans.

Above left: new co-owners of Idyology, Kelli Cooper (right) and Agatha Frank have plans to make the late-night bar and eatery a major Idyllwild destination.
Photo courtesy Kelli Cooper

Already in place is an organic menu with free-range sources. They recently hired chef and kitchen manager Jason Ramos to refine and expand what they have begun. “We’ll be providing catering, and increasing our vegan and vegetarian restaurant options,” said Cooper.

“Our food is American food and high end — bison burgers, fried chicken and salmon. We’re adding steaks and more appetizers, with weekly and local specials. Each week we’ll be doing something different. Last weekend, we did an Oktoberfest menu and it sold out.” Also, Cooper wanted patrons to know that Idyology is now full-table service. “Customers don’t have to stand in line to order and they love that,” she noted.

Next in the rollout is Saturday and Sunday breakfast, beginning at 8 a.m. with, as Cooper describes the menu, “everything off the beaten track,” including varieties of grits.

The kitchen will stay open until midnight Wednesday through Sunday, giving Idyllwild residents a true, late-night food option. Hours are from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday to Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“We have live music every night and are so excited to be featuring the musicians that we are discovering, from both on and off the Hill,” said Cooper.

“The possibilities are endless, and one of us is always there to greet our guests.”

Idyology is located in Fern Valley Corners.