POSTED ON JANUARY 7, 2009:
The Cajun Persuasion
West Tulsa diner offers a hearty breakfast buffet and Bayou favorites
Extra Kick. Classic diner foods juxtaposed with Cajun specialties are the mix here. Owner Jim Loggin grew up in Louisiana, where he became familiar with cooking Cajun dishes.
Unless someone already told you about Chicory & Chives, you may not know about this restaurant in west Tulsa. According to the owner Jim Loggin, even his wife thought he was crazy when he decided to open a restaurant in this location.
Still, after creating a business plan, Loggin opened the restaurant in June 2007. "We're in an industrial part of Tulsa," Loggin said, "It's just very industrial looking, but there are a number of businesses out here."
There's nothing special or attention-grabbing about Chicory & Chives. As Loggin said, it's a typical diner with diner food. "We draw people from the downtown area and Sand Springs," he said, and also from west Tulsa. "We draw a large contingency from city and county workers."
Approaching Chicory & Chives off Charles Page Boulevard, I saw that the façade is simple. Inside, a tall ceiling opens up this medium-sized diner, with an equally simple, yet functional interior. Tables fill the dining room; booths border the walls.
A few friends and I heard about the Saturday breakfast buffet ($6.59) here from 7:30am-noon and we were eager to try it out. Around 9:30am, the crowd was thinning out.
It's a very friendly place; we were greeted immediately and were promptly seated in a booth with two coffees soon to follow. At one point during our meal, the owner came by to welcome and check on us.
We did take a few minutes to review the breakfast menu in case we might find something to sway us from the buffet. The menu has typical breakfast fare: meals with eggs taking the lead; other items include various omelet combinations, cereals, French Toast, chicken fried steak, grilled pork chop, ham steak, corned beef hash and an eight-ounce breakfast steak.
Many of these items were on the buffet, so we stuck with the original plan. After a few sips of semi-weak coffee served with real cream, we were off to the buffet. Selections included: scrambled eggs, French toast, home fries (cubed potatoes), biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage links and patties, fried diced ham, Canadian bacon, pancakes. Cheese, jalapeno peppers and two fruits are also available.
I do enjoy buffets, all the while knowing how difficult it is to keep the area clean and the food fresh and hot. Chicory & Chives does a fair job with both. I love scrambled eggs, but we agreed that we have had better. The taste was okay, but the egg's temperature was tepid, and the texture was a little on the rubbery side.
We enjoyed the bacon and sausage, again not hot, but warm. The bacon was rich with flavor, but a few strips were exceptionally greasy. The pork link sausage was tasty, but a little greasy as well.
We found the biscuits to be some of the best we've tasted: tall and stately, fluffy on the inside and crispy on the top and bottom. While Loggin said he selected the gravy to taste as close to home as he can, none of us were fooled. From what I hear from others who serve breakfast, homemade gravy is rarely served because of the difficulty keeping it fresh and maintaining a proper consistency. Still, from my perspective, it is worth the trouble.
The pancakes were standard; the French toast was good--again, tepid. Hot syrup would have fixed this problem, but only room temperature was available.
Service was attentive and personable; attention to refilling coffee slacked just a bit when more diners arrived and were vying for our server's time.
Trips to the buffet afforded me opportunity to see how others were faring: the chicken fried steak was heavily breaded and looked impressive; the corned beef hash was equally attractive with a side of eggs.
Special requests that stray just a bit from the set menu can easily be accommodated.
Other sections of the menu include: Monday-Friday daily buffet ($6.59), which includes a different entrée each day; House Specials are Cajun specialties, with Crawfish Etouffee and Gumbo being the two favorites among customers. Loggin grew up in Louisiana, where he became familiar with Cajun dishes. He had to learn to cook his favorite meals if he wanted an authentic version of them after he left.
Chicory & Chives Café
3121 Charles Page Blvd.
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