Meet The Owner: Anne Mulhern, The Willow Tearooms
A Glasgow institution that has most definitely made its mark worldwide is The Willow Tearooms in Glasgow. As well as a host of their own classic recipes eaten by many, there are also some fabulous contributions from some of Anne's celeb pals.
It is now more than 30 years since Anne Mulhern opened The Willow Tea Rooms. In her twenties, fresh from college and a passion for the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Kate Cranston, Anne saw an opportunity to create something different in her own home city of Glasgow.
Anne’s passion for hospitality and tourism is second to none, she likes nothing better than meeting all our visitors and chatting with them about Glasgow, the Willow Tea Rooms, and good food!
Anne’s firm belief that they should give the customer what they want is something that is still very much at the heart of everything that The Willow Tea Rooms is about, from serving our menu all day; afternoon tea is available at 9.00am and scrambled eggs at 4.30pm, to meeting dietary requirements; their gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan ranges are constantly evolving and last but not least to celebrating many more anniversaries at the Tea Rooms at 97 Buchanan Street and the Willow at Watt Brothers.
We managed to grab a cup of tea and our favourite Willow Tearooms empire biscuit with Anne to ask her a few questions between bites.
What's your most memorable Willow moment over the years?
Oh, that’s a hard one, there has been so many - it could be the opening of my first Tea Room on the 1st December 1983 but it could also be the opening of Buchanan Street in 1997. A daily highlight is meeting all our visitors including some very famous people who were more than happy to stand in the queue and wait!
What's your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs in hospitality?
Make sure you always listen to your customers, they will be certain to let you know how you are doing.
What does Glasgow still need to knit the hospitality community together?
More opportunities for joint working, this will help the visitors to Glasgow plan their visit to make the most out of the city – to make things as easy as possible.
What's your favourite Willow menu meal?
Our Lapsang Souchong Tea Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese sandwiches.
What's your favourite thing to cook?
My Christmas turkey.
When you aren't working, where are you?
In my kitchen. We will be chasing Anne for her festive turkey recipe very soon!