'The cost of food is ridiculous': A North Peoria restaurant is closing this week

·2 min read
Samantha Sandford, 23, of Farmington had converted a section of the former site of the Second Chance Church at 2200 W. Willow Knolls Drive into a tea room.
Samantha Sandford, 23, of Farmington had converted a section of the former site of the Second Chance Church at 2200 W. Willow Knolls Drive into a tea room.

PEORIA – Economic issues have led to the closure of the Tea Room in the 3300 Event Center complex in North Peoria.

“The price of food, it’s tripled,” said Samantha Sandford, who opened the Tea Room in September of 2021. “I have everything written down from the first day I opened until now, and the cost of food is ridiculous.”

It’s an issue that’s hitting all restaurants, said Tricia Buskirk, owner of 3300 Event Center and Sandford’s aunt. The event center is a large complex people can rent out for various events. It is not closing. The large complex, which was built from structures on an old diary farm, haused many businesses over the years, including the Second Chance nightclub and O'Leary's Restaurant. Most recently, it housed Second Chance Church.

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“You talk about the cost of food, but you also talk about our gas prices and the economic restraints that other people are in too,” she said. “I think that people have buckled down. I know there’s businesses that have been in business 20, 30 years, thriving restaurants that are very much struggling these days.”

The Tea Room at 3300 features homey, country-style decor.
The Tea Room at 3300 features homey, country-style decor.

The Tea Room served light-food fare: charcuterie, paninis, cold sandwiches, soups and desserts. Though she was only 23 when she opened the restaurant, Sandford had a lot of food service experience. She had overseen the salad bar at Alexander's Steakhouse, and had been sous chef at Tannins & Hops in the Peoria Warehouse District.

June 17 was the final day the restaurant was open,but it's definitely not Sandiford's last day serving food at the 3300 Event Center. Sandford plans to continue holding special events and doing catering.

“She’ll still be coming back for featured events. We’re going to try to make things over there more food fairs and stuff,” said Buskirk.

Leslie Renken can be reached at (309) 370-5087 or lrenken@pjstar.com. Follow her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Tea Room at 3300 Event Center in Peoria is closing