It wasn't that long ago that my predecessor wrote about the Blue Moon Bakery on Brookside. What she just mentioned in passing was that the Blue Moon Café, formerly Blue Moon Bakery, is now open for dinner. And it was excellent.
While their baked goods should definitely not be overlooked (one night we had a mini carrot cake that was moist and dense, with a cream cheese icing that tasted like we were eating an incredibly rich cheesecake), they do the same outstanding job on dinner that they have done in the bakery for more than 20 years now, and that owner Alan Fusco has done on breakfast and lunch since he bought Blue Moon more than six years ago.
Alan Fusco (no relation to Michael Fusco of the Riverside Grill) has been on the restaurant scene in Tulsa since ... well, since Michael Fusco was just a baby! You may remember the original Interurban Grill downtown from the late '70s, and it's sister restaurant, the Outerurban, at 71st and Yale. Alan and some of his brothers have been on the restaurant scene in Tulsa since the days they worked the Interurban at the same location where Baxter's sits now.
We happened by on a Thursday evening, looking for a place for an easy, simple dinner, and noticed they were open. Unfortunately (for all the people who weren't there), it was sparsely populated. I know they are trying to build dinner business, but I am really surprised it wasn't busier. The food is excellent, and at breakfast and lunch, you can't even get in the place it's so packed. I hope they don't give up on evenings before business picks up. It's a great place any time, and in the evening it is an excellent venue for what I call upscale casual food.
Blue Moon utilizes simple, understated modern décor and is eclectic to boot. Fabric covered chairs and booth seats, wooden tables, a counter like any self respecting café or diner should have and lots of glass -- it sits in the former location of Table 10 and subsequently Lava Noshery on Peoria. It feels a bit softer now, with a lot of booths, an awning over the outdoor eating area where we ate the night we were there for dinner and memorabilia throughout the place, including the old Blue Moon Bakery sign high up on one wall. Posters, art for sale, and collector sets of salt and pepper shakers give it a fun, homey feel.
As you walk in, you are immediately overwhelmed by possibly the biggest blackboard I have ever seen. I think they must bring in a cherry picker to change the items at the top! House-baked Artisian breads, available baked goods and other things fill up the board. Look to your right and there is yet another board. On it's own it is huge, but next to grandpa it looks tiny. This one lists daily specials, cocktails and wine options, as well as a few choice philosophies presumably from the owners.
Now close your mouth and look in front of you at the bakery case filled with beautiful home-style and upscale baked goods. We had our dessert picked out before we ordered dinner.
You do so by ordering at the register, from many, many pages of items to choose from, then your food is brought out by one of several very polite and helpful young apron-wearing kids that work I presume in the kitchen, since we didn't see them at first. One had a T-shirt with a cartoon head of a lion with a full mane and the caption "Lyin' King" under it which I thought was hilarious till my wife made me settle down. The point is, while they do a great job on food and service they don't take themselves TOO seriously.
My wife had the pizza, small enough that you aren't embarrassed by the size of the pan if you are ordering it alone, big enough that it will leave you enough for lunch the next day. Nice crust, good cheese and fresh herbs, and a steal at $8.95.
I had the chili and garlic rubbed pork tenderloin (not to be confused with a pork loin, which is a different cut altogether). Small, about as big around as a silver dollar, it was sliced and grilled rather than roasted or grilled whole and then sliced. It was beautifully marked and cooked perfectly, shingled on the plate with a nice portion of fresh-roasted vegetables and served accompanied by a cilantro sauce that really touched it off nicely.
I may have mentioned the carrot cake? Wow! Really good stuff. They have such a handle on the bakery part of this operation you really need to stop by even if all you can do is pop in and pick up something to take with you. Check out their very slick website with a great bakery page and see for yourself what is available with menus and slide shows.
Specials change daily, and the service is friendly and efficient, although keep in mind it is about a third self-service. It all works well though.
If you have been reading my reviews for a while, you know I am a fan of corned beef hash. On a breakfast visit I ordered it. This is corned beef that is obviously made in house, and it comes in a bowl the size of a hub cap, full of chunks of good russet potato and tangy, tender corned beef, and topped with soft poached eggs. It was really delicious, though I could have used a little more beef. A minor detail in the whole scheme of things. Coffee is hot and fresh, and there is a great variety of sodas and other fruit beverages to take care of all the kids, and it's a really fun place to hang.
My wife went for the French toast, made with homemade bread, and it was sweet, cinnamony and deeelish!
We went in on a Saturday morning so I could shoot the breeze with Alan for a minute, and from the time we got there, till the time we got our breakfast (no more than 10 minutes), the place went from empty to full and there was a line literally out the door. Nothing speaks more to quality than a line of locals waiting to get a table on a Saturday morning! It was rockin'! Everybody seemed to know everybody, from employees to customers, and it was a great friendly atmosphere.
Blue Moon Café and Bakery
3512 S. Peoria
Monday-Friday, 7am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8am-2pm
Share this article: