Tea’s Me Cafe Opens New Location in Tarkington Park
Writer / Alesha McCarty
Photographer / Michael Durr
Community, collaboration and growth has been at the forefront of Tea’s Me Cafe’s mission ever since Tamika Catchings, retired pro basketball player for the Indiana Fever, took over the establishment in February of 2017. When the opportunity to further develop that mission arose with the new and improved Tarkington Park, it was a perfect fit.
The cafe will carry on its cozy, neighborhood vibe, and also expand community programs through Catch the Stars Foundation, Catchings’ nonprofit organization that provides local youth with fitness, literacy and mentoring programs. To kick off the collaboration, Catch the Stars and The Parks Alliance of Indianapolis’ first big event, Tourney Time at Tarkington, will be held on April 3. The youth basketball clinic is a free event for the community, for ages 7 through 15, and those interested can pre-register through catchthestars.org as a participant or volunteer.
Jenny Cash, vice president of The Parks Alliance, oversees the operations, programming and maintenance of Tarkington Park to help sustain and maintain the $6 million investment previously made for the park. The investment included the children’s play area, splash plaza, basketball and tennis courts, paths, shelters, field sports and the cafe.
“Tea’s Me joined to oversee the cafe, and brought a whole element of community, youth engagement, and empowerment through Catch the Stars, but also the cafe and Tamika’s involvement in the community,” Cash says. “We’re excited for families to visit, eat, play, and maybe grab dessert for the drive home.”
The Tea’s Me menu features breakfast and lunch items like omelets, sandwiches, pizza, smoothies, cookies, carrot cake, coffee, lemonade, and of course their tasty loose-leaf teas.
Darla Harmon, the Tarkington location manager, is thrilled to get started, and has a background in both the journalism and restaurant industries. Harmon’s love of tea comes from a health perspective, as a former soda drinker, and she now enjoys tea for a healthier lifestyle.
“We’re actually adding a matcha – I love matcha, and I recently became a fan and can’t start my morning without it,” she says.
The cafe is also adding a matcha lemonade, which is perfect for the long, summer days ahead. Harmon is also thrilled about the new veggie-forward options they will offer, including a chickpea salad sandwich and veggie wraps. The staff hopes to expand the menu while keeping it affordable for families that are enjoying the park.
The space will also serve as a community spot.
“Anything that the Parks Alliance does, we will be a part of it,” Harmon says.
The cafe is available for birthday parties, tea parties, bridal showers and other special events, and you can reserve the space through the official website.
Tamika’s sister, Tauja Catchings, is also heavily involved and manages the catering side of the business. She loves to indulge in a hot cup of caramel almond black tea, which tastes like a decadent caramel brownie.
Some of the facility’s special events feature meet-and-greets with Tamika, a four-time Olympic gold medalist and Hall of Fame inductee.
“Tea is just good for you, and that’s one of the things growing up we always had – tea in the house,” Tamika says, adding that her current go-to tea is Tropical Cyclone green tea, a best-seller.
For more info, visit teasmeindy.com.