Green Parrot Tea Shop
Charles E. McNair
(Dedicated to the memory of
my mother, Leone B. McNair)
would like to begin by thanking Polly Shank for helping
me with dates and locations of the restaurant, since I wasn't born when my mother first opened her
I can remember my
mother saying she took a correspondence course at The
Lewis Hotel & Restaurant Training School in
Washington, DC. This is where she got the idea of the
"The Green Parrot' and the slogan 'It Speaks for
Itself". Hence, the beginning of the Green Parrot
Tea Shop in Emmitsburg, MD.
McNair opened her restaurant around 1930 and it was
located on the square, where Houck's Clothing Store also
once was located. The waitresses were Polly Shank and
Ann Rodering. Some of the other ladies who worked there
were Ruth Eyler, Maude Harbaugh, Pauline Baker and Lou
Polly Shank reminisced
with me about some of the regular customers like Dr.
Dixon (Chief surgeon at Gettysburg Hospital) who would
ask for a "cup of tea weak enough to die', or
another customer who would ask for a "glass of
calf's delight" when asking for a glass of milk.
Polly remembers how
kindly she and the others were treated by my mother. She
would let her staff eat anything they wanted. Also, she
would say something like, "you must be tired, stop
and rest for a while".
1936, the Green Parrot was then moved from the Houck's
location to across the street where the VFW building is
today. I can remember during World War II the endless
convoys of Army trucks that would come through
Emmitsburg. There was always a road guard. If he could
be relieved, my mother would ask him to come in for a
meal. If he couldn't, she would send food out to him.
These same soldiers would correspond with my mother when
they were stationed overseas. One soldier wrote my
mother and said, 'This war wouldn't be so bad if only I
had a piece of your delicious apple pie".
(During World War II,
butter was very hard to get. I can remember the first
time I saw oleo. My mother would put it in a big bowl
and mix it with yellow food coloring to make it look
more like butter.)
The Green Parrot
located on the square closed its doors around 1946. In
1952, Leone McNair built her new restaurant adjacent to
the home place at 325 East Main Street. This was very
convenient for my mother being directly across from our
house, but at the same time, it never gave her a chance
for a moment's rest.
People came from near
and far to eat at the Green Parrot. It was well known
for its homemade cakes and pies made on the premises by
my mother. Where else could you get pan fried chicken,
home made soups and delicious turkey salad, to just
mention a few of her specialties.
Leone McNair had many
regulars that ate at her restaurant, especially from
Baltimore. It was not uncommon for me to run into
someone that had ate at the Green Parrot when I was
working in the Baltimore/Washington area.
Green Patriot Tea Room ~ 1951
My mother was a very
generous person. She delivered many a meal to the sick
and needy in town. Sadly, when Leone was no longer able
to operate the Tea Room, she was forced to sell the
building. It has changed hands several times since then,
and it is now called The Harrington Repair Shop.
Do you have your
own stories about the Green Parrot?
so, send them to us at History@emmitsburg.net