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Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Opening Chicago Tea House

Smashing Pumpkins
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Despite all his rage he is still just a … tea house barista?

After various construction issues delayed the opening several months, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has announced that his new Chinese tea house Madam Zuzu’s will open its doors on Thursday (Sept. 13) in his hometown of Chicago. Corgan will celebrate the opening Thursday with a few acoustic performances in the new space, although he hasn’t announced what time he’ll be hitting the stage.

Corgan and partner Sharon Mackin-Norberg’s retro ’30s-style tea house, which will seat 30, was built inside a former U.S. Post Office station in the Chicago neighborhood of Ravinia — but you wouldn’t know that just by looking. The entire interior has been drastically remodeled, from the black-and-white zigzag floors and long dark wood bar to red walls, art-deco lighting and metal-plated ceiling. There’s even an upright piano.

The piano will come in handy down the road, as they plan for the space to eventually host music performances, art opening, talks and more. But initially, they’re focusing on the tea side of things. “We didn’t want to try and do too much too fast,” Corgan tells Eater. “We want to focus on the quality of the experience instead of having a three-ring circus all at once. Once we open [things] up, we won’t have any shortage of people who will want to play or show their art.”

Oh right, the tea — we almost forgot about that. There will be a rotating roster of about 12 different types of loose-leaf teas from places around the world — including Morocco, Japan, China and India — coming in green, white, black and other flavors. There will also be pour-over coffee and vegan desserts like pies and cookies, but no alcohol. (Mackin-Norberg owns a wine store across the street.)

Corgan has been thrilled by the response he’s been getting from the neighborhood. “It’s so much better than I could have hoped for,” he says. “It’s people of all ages, even seven-year-olds are telling me they want to come to the tea shop.”

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