In the Sunday morning print version of the Chicago Tribune Billy Corgan talked about his new teahouse Madame ZuZu’s.
The article reveals what Billy’s intention for bringing a teahouse to the Highland Park neighborhood:
“People in Highland Park have been looking for things to do,” says Corgan, a native of the western suburbs who since 2004 has lived in this North Shore town in an 18-room lakeside mansion designed by celebrated architect David Adler. “We’re trying to build a culture where they can come here and not have to go to the city. We had a local lady talk about flower arranging and someone else talk about kabbalah. Everyone is welcome here, whether they’re in their 70s or their 20s.”
“My hopes are to create a means by which authors and poets can discuss their creativity,” says the 45-year-old Corgan, stopping short of saying what kinds of authors and what kinds of poets…
“I had the No. 1 selling book of poetry, and I didn’t get invited to one poetry event,” he says.
The article goes on to say that Billy had the idea for Madame ZuZu’s about 10 years ago. He explains what his vision of the layout would be.
“I wanted it sparse,” says Corgan. “I didn’t want this place to be like Starbucks. I wanted things to be different here.”
He’s not a big fan of social media. “People need to experience each other face to face to really connect to each other and the things going on in the world,” he says. “Thirty years ago, people were more socially conscious, as members of a democratic society, than they are now. Now, things are going the other way.”
The article explains Billy has been drinking tea since he was a boy, but doesn’t profess to be an authority on tea.
“For a long time, I didn’t know there was more than one kind of green tea.” But he now knows more than enough to do all the tea buying for Madame ZuZu’s.
His favorite tea is South African rooibos (pronounced roy-boss), or Honeybush as it’s listed on the menu. Grown in South Africa, it’s an increasingly popular herbal tea that until recently hasn’t gotten the press of green and back tea but, he says, has a higher anti-oxidant content than either of them.
We learn some interesting business news and what Billy’s musical aspiration are for the tea house.
For reasons Corgan declines to get into, he recently parted company with his business partner. His hopes of drawing performers and presenters through open submissions haven’t panned out.
The occasional musical set by Corgan, who performed as part of the salon’s opening festivities, won’t hurt Madame ZuZu’s fortunes. But he knows the salon’s success will depend more on the clientele’s participation. “I don’t want me to be the driver,” he says. “That would be bad business.”
The article is now available online.