Teresa Cheung-Valencia and Mary Grzegorski of Teaspoon (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Teaspoon Sisters Serve Globally-Inspired Brunch, All From Scratch

January 24, 2024
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By Kevin Thomas
By Kevin Thomas

The creative path of being a restaurateur is not one meant for the faint of heart. A heavy investment of the owner’s money, time, ideas, and labor are all required for most restaurants to succeed. 

At times, however, the most necessary ingredient to make the restaurant project turn out just right is, “A little bit of luck,” said Teresa Cheung-Valencia, co-owner of Teaspoon. 

Cheung-Valencia began Teaspoon as a project with her sister and co-owner Mary Grzegorski. Once the pair moved to Tucson from their home state of New York to assist a family member who was in a serious car accident, the sisters began to plan out what would be next for them professionally.

a woman standing in front of a building
Teresa Cheung-Valencia and Mary Grzegorski of Teaspoon (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Cheung-Valencia and Grzegorski watched their parents and grandparents work in the restaurant industry and witnessed the various ways the job can put stress on everyday life. As a result, “We actually vowed for a while that we would never be in the restaurant business,” said Cheung-Valencia. 

While they may have tried to escape the food and service industry, “It runs through our veins,” said Grzegorski. “The restaurant, it just makes sense.” 

Dining room at Teaspoon (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Breakfast, however, made a lot less sense to the sisters. “We feel like it can be kind of boring,” said Cheung-Valencia. The two felt as though the day’s most important meal had a lot of untapped potential. 

Teaspoon’s menu features a selection of unique brunch dishes. Classic breakfast options like omelets and benedicts are available, but the menu expands far beyond the expected two eggs, sausage, and toast. Hong Kong Bubble Waffles, Chilaquiles Con Pollo, a Breakfast Pizza, as well as two Dutch Baby pancake dishes are just some of the special creations offered at Teaspoon.

The best-sellers are the Hong Kong Bubble Waffles and Chilaquiles Con Pollo

a plate of food on a table
Hong Kong Bubble Waffles and Chilaquiles Con Pollo at Teaspoon (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Teaspoon’s menu items are internationally inspired by a variety of global cuisines from countries such as the U.S., China, Germany, and Mexico. This is due to the diverse cultural background of Cheung-Valencia and Grzegorski’s extended family. 

“We wanted a menu that really speaks to who we are as individuals; our history,” said Cheung-Valencia. 

Teaspoon’s menu reflects its owners’ roots with its content in addition to its creation. Dishes are made from scratch in-house, and Teaspoon’s dairy ingredients are sourced in partnership with Shamrock Farms

a plate of food on a table
Chilaquiles Con Pollo at Teaspoon (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

The made-from-scratch standard that Teaspoon holds its kitchen to is one Cheung-Valencia and Grzegorski learned from their time in New York. In “The Big Apple,” creating everything from scratch was a more common practice and felt natural to them. 

The dishes served in Teaspoon’s kitchen can vary from day to day. Grzegorski said that when running a scratch kitchen, “There is never a dull moment.” 

 Tomorrow, the house-made jam may have a different hue than the day before because it is a brand-new batch. The salsa may be slightly more or less spicy than the previous service. The bubble waffles may be slightly crispier due to the fire burning differently. 

The variation from service to service does not make Teaspoon inconsistent. Rather, it shows the effort and effectiveness of placing thought and care into a made-from-scratch menu.

a group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant
Dining room at Teaspoon (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Teaspoon is located inside the Casas Adobe Plaza and can seem almost hidden to a first-time visitor. Cheung-Valencia said that because of their location, customers either get there on purpose or by simply “wandering” into the restaurant.  

However, the seclusion was not the only aspect of Teaspoon’s current location that stood out to the sisters as they first toured the property. “Immediately we looked at each other and said, ‘brunch’,” said Cheung-Valencia.

The plaza’s fountain caught their attention, and the outdoor area made them feel as though this was the perfect place for Teaspoon.

a group of people in front of a building
Front patio at Teaspoon (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

The old saying goes as follows; build it and they will come, and some things never change. The sisters brought their idea to life and the location has proven to be a magnet for their loyal customer base who remained true through the very difficult times of 2020. Customers could not come into the restaurant but still made the effort to support Teaspoon by ordering their meals for curbside pickup.

Some regulars have even been known to request less desirable tables because they would like a potential first-time customer to have the most enjoyable experience possible. 

The sisters are proud to have curated this type of relationship between the patrons and the restaurant. “This is where food and people come together,” Cheung-Valencia said. 

Teaspoon is located at 7053 N. Oracle Rd. and is open seven days a week. On Sundays, the location opens an hour earlier at 7 a.m. For additional information about Teaspoon, visit teaspoontucson.com

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