POSTED ON NOVEMBER 5, 2008:
Pride (In the Name of Tulsa)
Café and watering hole offers a fresh taste on local landmarks
Perfect Hangout. Got Food? Coffee? Cocktails? Art and music? The Collective has all this and more. Enjoy hearty, healthy food in a casual and comfy setting.
The Collective is a new hotspot on 11th Street, directly across from the University of Tulsa. Owners and TU graduates Colleen McCarty and Rusty Rowe offer an attractive trio: café, coffeehouse and bar. They hope to generate interest beyond the TU community,
This may be a tall order. As a former TU student, I recall the difficulty of finding local establishments that garnered student interests. This section of midtown is not typically a place people travel for eats and drinks.
But, maybe they should.
The Collective is a homey place that is good for relaxing solo with a book or computer, or for sharing some time with friends. The atmosphere is very casual and caters to all types of people. A few tables are available for outside dining; inside, two rooms provide ample space for those customers interested in a table or booth and for those who want to enjoy a more lounge-like setting, which includes the bar and stage.
McCarty majored in art management and minored in business. She puts her degrees to good use by selling art and booking one local artist to show in the café each month. Occasionally on the weekends, local bands perform in the bar/stage room.
Rowe also has a degree in business and has worked in restaurants for a number of years. Collectively (no pun intended), the duo had toyed with the idea of moving to a bigger city after graduation. But when this location, 3148 E. 11th St., came available for rent, they "kicked up the idea" of opening their own business.
Only native Tulsans select menu names like the ones found at The Collective: The Golden Driller, The Camelot, The Mayo, The Zingo, The Phantasmagoria and more.
"We wanted to center the menu around Tulsa pride," said McCarty, such as "...the stuff from Bell's." She said that they wanted to create food that they knew would be different and "on the edge." "Something healthier and with lots of vegetables," she said.
Most everything is made in-house except the bread, which comes from Merritt's, and items such as tabouli and hummus, which come from vendors.
A friend and I popped in here early one evening. My immediate thought was: There was no place like this around the TU campus when I was in school-- I wish there would have been.
For all the pluses of this place, one minus was the lack of a warm welcome. We had already decided what to order by the time someone approached the counter. And, besides one other person, we were the only ones there.
I ordered The Camelot ($7.29) and my friend The Jazz Depot ($5.29). We also selected cups of soup, The Rose Bowl and The Phantasmagoria (both $3.29). The menu includes an assortment of signature sandwiches, salads, soups, flatbread pizzas, additional sides, cold and hot drinks, mixed coffee drinks, desserts, and pastries and biscuits for breakfast.
My sandwich was a hearty one of honey ham, green apple, pepper jack cheese, red onion, mayo and brown sugar aboard ciabatta bread. This sandwich was not overly sweet - as it may sound. The sugar was just enough to complement the honey ham and green apple. The thick ciabatta bread held the sandwich together nicely. The sandwich was a harmonious blend of flavors. The Phantasmagoria was a mushroom and brie soup. It was thick and rich, with an earthy quality to it. Plenty of mushrooms filled the cup.
The Jazz Depot was one of the flatbread pizza choices. The thick flatbread was topped with plenty of mozzarella, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and red onion. The flatbread was soft and airy in the center and crispy on the outside. Lots of cheese and the slight sweetness of the roasted red peppers blended well in each bite. My friend said it was a delightful meal. His soup, The Rose Bowl, was creamy tomato basil. This was good, but we both agreed that the mushroom soup was the better of the two.
A dessert specialty that satisfies a sweet tooth is the Cream Crumbles ($1.50). This is an original creation, said Mccarty, which begins with heating and frothing heavy cream, then pouring it over a large cookie and brownie chunks. This is topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Flavored syrup, such as raspberry, mint, caramel, can be added..
For drinks, we sampled a regular coffee and a mixed coffee drink, The Outsider ($5). My friend enjoyed his bold cup of coffee. A shot of Irish whiskey and a shot of Bailey's accentuated my latte. Always delicious!
Other drinks on the menu include: The Deco, mocha with Tequila Rose and vanilla vodka; The Himalaya, chai latte mixed with Frangelic and Triple Sec. McCarty said that a full bar is always open, so customers can order whatever they prefer.
The Collective has many beverages from which to choose: Italian Sodas, vanilla frappe, chai frappe, mocha frappe, grasshoppers, café au lait, macchiato, Americano, espresso and more.
3148 E. 11th St.
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