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Repeats with a Twist – Cafe 501, OKC

On Monday I had a lunch appointment with a couple who has club seats. They recommended Cafe 501. I had been there once before, and had an average experience. But I wanted to give it another chance, so I agreed. Originally we were scheduled for 12:30, but since I didn’t have an appointment right before lunch, we did 11:30.  There’s 2 locations, and we went to the one in Classen Curve.  This location is open 7 days a week, including Sunday brunch and dinner.  The Edmond location isn’t open on Sundays, but both offer a Saturday breakfast menu.

As I walked in I noticed that there was a stanchion set up, one side leading to ordering at the counter and the other side to sit down. And then I noticed that it said “reservations only” for full service.  I hadn’t made a reservation, and found out that Steve and Beverly hadn’t either.  Luckily they were able to squeeze us in; the couple behind me wasn’t that lucky, and ended up eating at the bar.  I have to admit I was very confused as to why everything there was reserved at lunch.  I have never seen anything like that.  I heard the manager telling the couple behind me that 95% of their business is “fast”, therefore ordering at the counter and eating there.  But it’s still a strange concept to me.  When I first arrived there were maybe 10 other people in the whole restaurant, but people started steadily streaming in about 15 minutes later, most of them ordering at the counter.

I decided that I needed to eat at least remotely healthy, if for no other reason that I’ll weigh 500lbs if I keep eating junk when I go out.  That and there’s lots of healthy options in restaurants.  I need to just stop skipping over them.

One thing I find odd about the lunch menu is that they don’t list any sides with the sandwiches, and don’t list them anywhere on the menu at all.  That was one of my complaints last time, because when I asked what the side was my server told me, but also didn’t give me any other options.  And a few minutes later I heard her telling another guest near me all the choices.

I finally decided on the grilled veggie sandwich.  It comes with chips, but I swapped out for the chopped salad instead

Cafe 501, OKC - Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

SANDWICH – Sautéed Zucchini & Yellow Squash, Red Bell Pepper, Mushrooms, Red Onions, Olive Medley, Fresh Spinach, Swiss Cheese, Basil-Mayo, Focaccia CHOPPED SALAD – Mixed Greens, Bacon, Hearts of Palm, Cucumbers, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Tomatoes, Croutons, Blue Cheese Dressing

The sandwich was delicious.  I love all the fresh veggies in there, and the basil-mayo added a nice flavor without being heavy.  I’m not a fan of olives so I asked for it on the side.  I got brave and tried a bite, and was very pleasantly surprised.  I think it’s black olives that I don’t like, because I really enjoyed this medley and there were very few black olives in there.  So I went ahead and put it on my sandwich.  The salad was delicious, lightly dressed, and all the flavors worked really well together.  Hearts of palm really don’t have much flavor on their own, but they added a great crunch and texture to the salad.

I’m glad I gave this place a second chance, because I left much happier.  And the food really is good.  I still think its weird about them not listing sides on the lunch men (they’re listed on the dinner menu) and that you have to reserved a table at lunch, but I can get over that.  And, I learned that they are part of a restaurant group that also owns Boulevard Steakhouse, Martini Lounge, Ice House, and Park House.  All places that will need to be added to the food blog list.  And yes, I will definitely go back to Café 501, maybe for brunch.

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