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March 29, 2011 / Linda Hartong


The Tuck Box was constructed by Hugh Comstock in 1927, either as his office or as a home. It was first used as a restaurant in the early 1930’s and was named “Sally’s”.

The building in the rear was also built by Comstock  in 1929 and was used as a garden shop, and much later as The Tuck Box Gift Shop. The kiosk next to the patio gate was added in 1931.

For the last 70+ years, the Tuck Box has existed as a restaurant in the middle of Carmel-by-the-Sea on Dolores between Ocean and 7th. (Address is as close as you can get in street number resistant Carmel.) It has not always been devoted to British food as it is today, but since the 1940’s when two sisters from England opened the tea room which they named “The Tuck Box” after the small wooden lockers English school boys took to boarding school with them to hold their toys, books and food (tuck). The “tuck box” has always had a warm and special place in British student hearts since the food served in their dining rooms was so execrable that the candy and cakes hoarded in their boxes were the only things to satisfy. 

After operating the restaurant for eight years, Mrs. Bumbridge and Mrs. Watson, sold to another British couple, John and Elsie Grandfield. Elsie’s delicious recipes have had the greatest and most lasting impact on The Tuck Box. Many are still in use today.

A note on their Scottish Scones. These are not the small scones one may be used to. These are large, about the size of a salad plate. The Tuck Box recipe is from northern Scotland and is lighter in texture than the scones found in England.

For afficiadoes, who cannot get to Carmel very often, the Tuck Box sells their preserves including their famous Olallieberry version

their scone mix that dates back to 1949,

their whole grain cereal (oats, wheat, barley & rye)

and their Ceylon Pekoe Black Tea.

Just  log onto their web site.

In addition they sell a wonderful little book called “The FairyTale Houses of Carmel”.


Leave a Comment
  1. Miss Bloomers / Mar 29 2011 8:41 pm

    The Tuck Box is one of my favorite places to eat and visit! I love the architecture, the garden shop in the back and the eggs benedict is wonderful. Thanks for sharing this enchanting little place. I told my husband I would love to build a garden building that resembles a Comstock cottage!!

  2. Linda Hartong / Mar 29 2011 8:45 pm

    What a perfect little potting shed that would be!

  3. jeanette sclar / Mar 29 2011 11:20 pm

    This building couldn’t get any cuter! I would love ot have listened to the conversations between the contactor and the architect on these fairy-tale buildings!

  4. Nita@ModVintageLife / Apr 1 2011 3:43 am

    Oh…loved seeing all about the Tuck Box. I’ve seen photos of it before but didn’t know what is was. Very interesting.

  5. kjm / Aug 10 2011 4:26 am

    The front of the building with the red/white awning has two of the cutest windows I have ever seen. I love the funny-shaped top one, and I adore the random panes of glass in the bay window. Don’t even get me started on the roof…

  6. Amy / Dec 1 2011 2:31 pm

    Oh! That brace that holds the chimney up! And the chimney cap itself, and the bushes turned into a topiary garland! And the irregular shaped glass window panes! And… and… and…
    Thank you! This photo is wonderful. (As are they all.)

  7. Lexie Whitman / Jun 30 2012 8:16 pm

    My family has lived in Carmel since the 1920’s. The original structure known as “The Tuck Box” now, was built to house his wiife’s doll collection. This is why it is so charming and lovely, it was designed originally to be a doll house. The Tuck Box is classic, but the food and scones have really gone downhill in the last few years. That table in front, is always our families table where we share many happy times. I recommned having the ploughman’s lunch, it is the most original of the true British tea lunches. If you travel to Carmel it is not to be missed simply for its originality and beauitful design,.

  8. Colene Correll / Apr 8 2017 9:48 pm

    I started bringing my daughter to the Tuck Box 38 years ago and have continued by bringing my granddaughters on their birthdays each year. It is a very precious memory which we will always treasure. Thank you for sharing your delightful little Tuck Box.

  9. The Reichards / Aug 22 2019 3:11 am

    Always a delightful place to come for scones and tea.

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