Helen Bowers, who has owned The Rose Garden Tearoom for more than twenty years, is the heart and soul of the restaurant. Her talents and personality are obvious everywhere you look.
Helen was born and grew up in Odessa, Texas. In 1961 she graduated from high school there and moved to Fort Worth to attend Texas Christian University (TCU). On the steps of the student center at summer freshman orientation, she met Bill Bowers. They were married before their senior year in 1964. Helen graduated from TCU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Education.
The next morning they left for Austin, Texas, for Bill to begin law school. Helen taught school in Austin and sold Tupperware at night to help Bill through law school. Their first child, Melissa, was born nine months before Bill finished school. They then moved back to Fort Worth where Bill began his law practice, and Helen continued teaching while their family increased to four children. At that point, Helen stopped teaching.
A few years later Helen began a diverse career that eventually lead her to the Rose Garden. For instance, she started a company called Child’s Play. Her neighbor built wonderful playhouses, doll houses, forts, and children’s furniture. Helen hand painted each piece, except the forts, and they sold their doll beds to Designs for Growing. Then they produced a stove and sink set, which was carried in the Neiman Marcus catalog. All that was done in Helen’s garage so they could keep an eye on their children, who were playing in the yard.
One of the major projects they did was an 8' x 10’ playhouse that became the doll hospital for Ridgemar Mall. They also built a huge playhouse for the Fort Worth Children’s Hospital. It had plexiglass windows and was wheelchair accessible.
Later Helen owned a successful dress shop called La Parasol for more than fourteen years. She also worked at Kent Nix’s TCU Florist for a while, making dried flower arrangements into huge wreaths. She made one heart-shaped wreath for the Christmas Tour of Homes that was so large it reached from the first floor, past the staircase, to the second floor.
In addition Helen was often sought by people to decorate their homes. If you’ve ever seen Helen’s home, you know why. And that includes her glorious yard, where her love of gardening is radiantly displayed.
Her experience also includes catering large gatherings, such as wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, anniversary parties, business luncheons, and other gala affairs.
The Rose Garden Tearoom
Here's how The Rose Garden Tearoom came about, as Helen tells it:
In January 1991 I was an antique dealer in two malls in Texas—one in Arlington and the other in Granbury. I was also decorating a few homes at the time. I met Doris Perritt in Granbury where she was managing a tearoom in the mall, and we became fast friends. After I left the mall in Granbury, I did not see Doris for about a year.
I was thinking about getting out of the antique business altogether when the owner of the antique mall asked me to take over the tearoom. I didn’t think too much about it that night, because I didn’t know anything about running a tearoom, but the next day she mentioned it again. So I said there was only one woman with whom I would consider opening a tearoom, and I called Doris. She said no, but I insisted that she think about it anyway.
Within three days we decided to do it! I remember that we were standing in the parking lot, and she asked me if she was going to be working for me. I said, “No, we’re partners all the way.”
Then she asked me what we were going to name our tearoom. I had just ordered a thousand dollars worth of roses to use in my decorating business and in floral arrangements I made. They were all in boxes in our garage, and my husband, Bill, thought I had lost my mind. I quickly said to Doris, “Let’s call it The Rose Garden!” And she agreed.
We opened within a month on February 6, 1991 (my husband’s birthday). Two of my daughters, Melissa and Mary, came to help us. Doris and I were the cooks, but within a week my daughters took over our jobs, and they have been cooking at The Rose Garden ever since.
Doris brought wonderful recipes to The Rose Garden, and I have added a lot from my mother and friends. Doris taught the girls how important the presentation of the food is, and she encouraged me to get out front to greet and seat our guests. I was very reluctant at first, but now it’s my favorite thing to do, and I’ve met some of the most wonderful people in the world.
Eventually we moved The Rose Garden to West Arlington where we are still located. And we have enjoyed such delightful times with our friends and customers who grace our restaurant over and over again.
My friend and partner, Doris, died in 2006, but her inspiration still drives us to be the best tearoom in the world.
Our Second Location
In 2008 I was asked to open a second Rose Garden Tearoom in the antique mall known as the Historic Camp Bowie Mercantile in West Fort Worth. And I’m happy to say that it is also doing very well.
Melissa and Mary now have their own tearooms in which to cook. And our wonderful staff, who work with us (some for more than twenty years) cooking in the kitchen, washing our dishes, and serving our customers are all part of our extended family.
The Story Continues
You’ll find that all of Helen’s life experiences come together in a warm and wonderful atmosphere at The Rose Garden—a peaceful garden-like environment, complete with lighted grapevines and dried floral arrangements, a classy decor, a feeling of welcome, and fabulous food.
Helen and Bill, now a prominent attorney, have four children and seven grandchildren. They still live in Fort Worth, Texas.
You are invited to become part of the Rose Garden history as well by visiting us for lunch, high tea, Sunday lunch, or a special event. We treasure the friendships we have made with our many patrons, and we would love to add you to that list.
God has truly blessed The Rose Garden.