Local celebrity and former Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan is currently in the works of a new project: a trendy 1930s Chinese-style tea house—in Highland Park. Eater chatted with Corgan about the concept, which will be an intimate 30-seat venue with a vintage “salon vibe” featuring a select number of teas sourced from all over the world. Citing the very obvious reasons of “there’s nothing really to do up here,” Corgan tells Eater he wanted to open a social tea house because the suburbs are pretty, but boring. Funny, we thought that’s why most people move to suburbs in the first place.
Since the suburbs are (and always have been) dominated by corporate franchises like Starbucks instead of Bohemian coffee shops, he adds, “Starbucks is all about ‘sameness’ and it attracts the same fucking people. I don’t want to hang out with those people. I’m not into that cookie-cutter culture.” A winning argument for the thriving seedy subculture oppressed by the corporate hegemony of Highland Park!
Corgan is currently aiming for a spring opening at 582 Roger Williams Ave. in Highland Park. And as for celeb spotting, in classic Corgan fashion tells Eater, “if people come in to stalk me I won’t hang out because I don’t want to disrupt the customers.”