House of Steep Opens on Friday

by Katie Pyzyk September 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm 7,856 45 Comments

Cherrydale is about to become home to a unique business aimed entirely at relaxation and wellness. House of Steep (3800 Lee Highway), a new “tea house and foot sanctuary,” is scheduled to open its doors on Friday (September 21).

Owner Lyndsey DePalma had been looking to get out of the corporate world to open a tea house for years. She started the ball rolling about two years ago while in business school and went on to receive her reflexology certification. She wants her business to be a haven for busy individuals looking to escape from daily stress.

“We can actually take 15 minutes, 30 minutes and just relax,” DePalma said. “It’s not just a tea house, it’s an experience, it’s a place to relax.”

Customers who want to continue relaxing after leaving House of Steep will be able to purchase some of the two dozen varieties of loose tea. Although there will be some traditional favorites such as Earl Grey and Jasmine Green, House of Steep will also feature around 10 specialty teas blended in house. The selection will rotate, and each month one employee will concoct a new blend.

A unique aspect of the business that often confuses people upon first hearing about it is the concept of a “foot sanctuary” in the back of the store. Customers can receive a foot massage and rest their feet in an herbal foot bath, with or without an accompanying cup of tea. The foot soaks will be customized for each person’s needs, such as relaxation, stimulation or muscle aches. DePalma said the health benefits of the tea will complement the reflexology benefits of the foot soak.

“The reason it works together, in my mind, is just the whole ancient Eastern wisdom that there’s a lot of health and healing that happens in your feet,” she said.

The tea house will serve lighter, healthy fare such as wraps, salads and summer rolls. DePalma prides herself on locally sourcing ingredients for the dishes, and for selling baked goods from local bakeries LeoNora and Out of the Box.

“One of the themes of my business is to support local whenever I can,” said DePalma. “My mom and grandma were entrepreneurs and my mom’s business did suffer from big box stores. Local has always been part of my bloodline.”

The local push will continue throughout the establishment by featuring local artists’ works on the walls and using two local artisans’ relaxation products in the foot sanctuary.

Although DePalma had initially thought an area with higher foot traffic would be preferable to the current location, she realized being off the beaten path may allow customers to further enjoy the experience. Instead of rushing through for a quick cup of tea on the way to work or errands, they’re encouraged to slow down and enjoy the overall experience.

“It’s a little bit removed. It’s a little more of a destination; originally it was more of a convenience thing,” DePalma said. “I’m striving for something that’s memorable.”

DePalma reports the surrounding community has been supportive and excited about the store, despite a number of delays with opening. DePalma is still working out all the kinks, and hopes to win over even more people during House of Steep’s grand opening on October 19. Full plans are still in the works, but there will definitely be a ribbon cutting, massages and reflexology demonstrations.

“This is my first startup, so I’m learning a lot while I go. I’m creating this new kind of thing in the hopes it will actually stick and really take off in this area,” said DePalma. “I feel like this area really enjoys something to do, especially health focused.”

  • Fruits and Nuts

    Arlington is turning into California.

    • Chris

      This California kid is excited about it!

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    We in South Arlington just kick back a five-minute energy and put our feet on the wheel well of the 16B bus.

  • B22201

    I’m going to name my line of ski clothing “House of Steep and Deep”.

  • nom de guerre

    But will we be able to smoke “tea” there?

  • Phienous McGovern

    Can’t wait! Foot baths are great.

  • Regis

    15 months, tops.

    • Captain_Obvious

      I got the under.

    • 7-11-bum

      If they added alcoholic beverages to the mix, they might stand a chance. That way, people may be able to cajole their non-tea drinking friends into relaxing with them.

  • Captain_Obvious

    Maybe they should read the tea leaves…

  • Captain_Obvious

    ok 1 more, will they offer take home tea bags ? Will people say “lets go teabaggin” when referring to going to this place ?

  • K22206

    My drink came out my nose when I read “…and foot sanctuary”.

  • Jeff

    I want to go there… now.

  • kj

    Sounds creepy

    • sunflower

      just hope they have separate waitstaffs (staves)

  • ClarendonDweller

    Since this post has received exactly ONE positive comment, I just wanted to wish this business owner some success in her new venture. Although I’m not a tea lover, I’ll certainly stop by to do my part in supporting a new Arlington business. I hope I’m not in the minority here.

    • drax

      Me too. Sounds pretty nice. I can definitely imagine myself relaxing.

      • sunflower

        i cannot imagine you relaxing…….

    • nom de guerre
      • Say it Ain’t So

        OMG how did you even find this video – I mean what do you do? Read an article then look for corresponding video? Funny…. in a very strange way! 🙂

      • Gross!

        Ok… wow. I’m not sure what intrigued me enough to click the link.. maybe the “how did you find this” comment but as someone who already is a little grossed out by feet in general (and therefor the name of this place and what it stands for, sorry) I almost threw up in my mouth a little bit watching this. Wow. Gross. I got through about 3 seconds… I don’t want to know where it went with that.

    • SHLady

      I wish them well!

  • McChipstah

    Sounds like heaven… and I can walk there!

  • Justin Russo

    I’m just glad it’s not another cupcakery or fro-yo joint.

    • Joe Hoya

      No kidding. I always enjoyed going to Teaism in Dupont Circle, so it’ll be nice to have a tea house in Arlington.

  • Devon

    Where do you park?

  • malaka

    foot soaks….and 10 specialty teas blended in house….
    They’r’e making tea out of people’s feet!!!!!

  • karzai

    I love Asian salads and this place is definitely going to get some business from me.

  • nom de guerre

    The House of Steep Asian salad features shredded organic napa cabbage and chopped green onions with locally sourced, sustainable hammertoe clippings, bunion shavings, and corns topped with a tamari, fish sauce and sesame oil vinaigrette.

    • Tabs


    • Dr_Klahn

      Do they have those fish that eat the dead skin off your feet? If so, I’d like them gathered up after my massage and lightly sauteed to nom’s specifications, with a side of crusty bread – I like something to sop up the impurities after a long day in the office chair.

      • YTK


        • nom de guerre

          Acutally the pedicure fish are small, toothless carp, aka Garra Rufa. Their ground up remains of ones that die naturally are soaked and fermented in the “foot soaking brine” to make the fish sauce that is used in the Asian salad referenced above, but Dr Klahn’s idea of sautéing them sounds intriguing. Unfortunately, OSHA, state and local regulations require us to perform a necropsy on all “employees” that are purposefully, willfully, or accidentally killed on the job, so this would make our price point for sautéd carp much higher than the public would like.

  • North&South

    Wow, this sounds fantastic! I could totally use this right about now. Sounds so relaxing! I’ll definitely be checking this place out!

  • Hawthorn Collingwood

    I am sorely tempted to go in there and say to someone on the staff, “Y’know, my feet are feeling great, but I could REALLY use a hand sanctuary right about now.”

  • Dale Cherry

    I’m glad there’s food. The tea wouldn’t have been enough for me but with that addition, it sounds like a nice alternative place to walk to and get a light & healthy lunch.

  • Trish

    So will the prices be (ahem), steep? 🙂

    • YTK

      HAHAHAHAHA!! i was about to post the same thing.

    • Tabs

      Check out the web site.

      Sorry, I can get a mani/pedi with calf and foot massage for $35.

      • jackson

        You can get it for less than that if you’re not picky. Heck, you can get someone to pay YOU to let them do it, if you don’t mind having it done at the Day’s Inn on Columbia Pike.

  • Id

    What happens if you have extremely hammered toes and corns? Will I still be able to have sanctuary for my feet?

  • Eds

    If I brought out my dogs they might re-think the foot sanctuary service.

  • NY22

    It’s amazing how many people around the DC area are so hauty and elitist that they can’t simply wish a new business owner well- they need to get “smart” about it and cynical, only accepting if it’s some group/social beer drinking gathering so they all can wear politically punned team kickball shirts and be cool; or an organized “we are so smart and this is who we work for and donate money to” benefit. I hope the business thrives. Thanks for actually doing something, business owner.

    • Hank

      Nah, they probably just think it’s funny that there are people who’s lives are so stressful that the only cure is to head on over to the local foot sanctuary and sip on some tea leaves while a stranger rubs their feet. Personally, I prefer a good butt rub.

  • Emma

    Sounds awesome! Love hearing about small business started by a woman especially in this AWFUL economy that is going no where fast. All the best to you!


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