Tulsa >Food & Dining > Palace Cafe
1301 E 15th St, Tulsa, OK | Directions 7412036.140735 -95.975490
Neighborhoods: Cherry Street
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH – A note from Chef James and a Brief History...
Back in 2002 I was on the hunt for a space to open my first restaurant in Tulsa. It wouldn’t be the first restaurant I had opened per se. I’ve opened a few (Keg Restaurant / Seattle WA, Back Street Bistro / Jenks OK, Finales / Downtown Tulsa & Shore Avenue Café / Kotzebue AK) more importantly my own restaurant.
I arrived in Tulsa Memorial Day weekend 1996. The hot new restaurant was “Back Street Bistro” in Jenks. I remember interviewing with the chef & looking over the menu, “Artichoke Cheese Dip w/Toasted Pita Chips” stood out to me. I hadn’t made chokes&cheese since I worked at the Keg in 1991. I thought “Well, if I’m going to serve a chokes and cheese, then I’ll make sure it’s the best you’ve ever had. In the year that I worked at the Bistro, I learned about Tulsa's taste.
My experience with Tulsa cuisine was always good, however below my expectations at times. Working with numerous hotels & restaurant owners I strived to advance the local cuisine. I drew from my experience of what to do right at restaurants like Dahlia Lounge in Seattle WA, American Bounty at the C.I.A. NY, Keg Restaurants in Seattle WA.
I didn’t know I wanted to open my own restaurant. It was my wife, Brooke, who knew. I met Brooke in 1996 when I moved to Tulsa. She watched me work myself to exhaustion at times. I had a general plan of working at a ‘square job’ to pay the bills (Southern Hills Marriott) and working at an inspiring restaurant (15th Street Grill / Cherry Street) for my second job. On my days off we would get together with our friends and pool our money for a nice meal. Then I would go the shop and buy the best ingredients I could afford & cook up a feast.
Brooke saw the potential in me that I didn’t realize was there. The only option for her was for us to have our own restaurant.
In 2002 Palace was a run down, dusty antique store “White Bear”. It had closed after a 10 yr run. I knew it was my restaurant the second I saw the “Closed for Business” sign. People always want to know, “How do you open a successful restaurant?” The single factor for the success of Palace was our vision. Everything else was hard work and generous help from family, our building owner & the Tulsa community.
Where did the name come from? Palace named its self when a passerby told me about the old Palace Theatre that used to stand where our parking lot is now. I thought “Perfect fit, the right combination of local history & elegance.” It was perfect except for one detail; the theatre was actually The Plaza.
Tulsa is a different town now. Local produce is organic & abundant. Truly great new restaurants open all the time. We are attracting more young professionals to Tulsa than I thought possible. Every time I put out the hiring sign, at least one applicant is a graduate of C.I.A. Before I couldn’t count C.I.A graduates on one hand in Tulsa. Over the years I’ve grown to love Tulsa. The local cuisine meets my high expectations now. I'm grateful Palace can play a small part in that.
Delicious food from an immaculate kitchen – We explore each season by dining out at The Palace Cafe, because they always serve fresh ingredients, with subtle flavors and nouveau cuisine for healthy eating. The grilled salmon bacon, lettuce & tomato sandwich (BLT) was better than gourmet because it tasted like a pleasure concocted by artisans. By the way, our friend had the grilled chicken Caesar salad - romaine drizzled with anchovy aioli then topped off with focaccia crisps and it was phenomenal! If you like your food fresh and originally presented, give it a go at the Palace. Nearby attractions, since this Cherry Street neighborhood is our favorite in Tulsa, include three of the best fine arts studios - Joseph Guerick, Pearson Gallery and Chris Claussen Photography. And if you take a stroll, there are interior decorators and antique shops.
Fun, friendly, and fantastic. – My dining experience at The Palace Cafe was fabulous. The amazing food was unique, fresh, and most importantly delicious! The atmosphere truly felt warm and friendly, and was coupled with warm and professional service. The high point, for me, was perhaps the beautiful presentation which was not only eye catching but fun. The Palce Cafe is an eloquent as well as intimate example of what a fine dining experience should consist of. I will continue to choose it as my go-to restaurant for entertaining, celebrating, or simply if I'm craving an amazing meal.
The Palace Cafe.. Mi Amore – My dining adventure at the palace cafe rang true to the restaurants name, and I was the princess. Endless cascading overwhelming jolting emotions undoubtedly emitted and sent shivers up my spinal cord from the base of my rump to the beginning of my noggin at the very thought of the lamb chops (meat on bone from animal called lamb or "sheep") slowly glided toward my very being, carrying what I could only imagine was the most intimidatingly delicious meal of bodacious talent in the form of edible beauty. Dangerously delicious, the lamb chops I ordered made me ponder the possible theory that time is not eternal, and has paused to accommodate the precious time I had with my lamb chops in the palace. SWINGING FROM THE CHANDALEARS my heart sang hymnals of praise to the palace cafe. I return to the palace almost every eve of a beautiful day, each time timeless, priceless, and delicate. ?This is my home. I am the princess. Feed me, fill me, find fluttering fortresses of fluffy fascination forging onward.?- Me
WOW world class restaurant in litlle ol' Tulsa – What a great find. I love Cherry Street for dining but the Palace Cafe is definitely the classiest establishment in the area. Attentive service, unique menu, cozy atmosphere. I ordered the tenderloin and it was one of the best steaks I've ever had. My wife LOVED her salmon. Great wine selection and desserts, too. For such a little, bumpkin town, Tulsa is lucky to have such a restaurant. We will definitely be going back!
Will NEVER return – Bad service, dirty resturant, highly overpriced food, I would have been better off going to the fast food place next door!
In case you had not noticed: The teddy bear store has been replaced with Tulsa best menu. – The menu changes with every season and never disappoints. It is what keeps me coming back again and again.
There are many items on the menu for vegetarians and vegans. If you are a very adventurous vegetarian check out the 4 course chef's table option on the dinner menu. Most of the items on the menu come from local farmers so they base the menu on what is in season..
Not worry meat eaters there is an aray of meat options as well as a 6 course chef table for you as well. The Winter menu features a tenderloin, local farm raised chicken, and confit of pig. But the not to be missed item is the Lobster corn dog.
Another great thing about Palace Cafe is the Wine list. The list does not feature your average wines, alothough you will find some of your well known names you will also find some tasty new choices. If you are a true wine snob they also have a kings and queens list for you to choose from.
Palace Cafe is business casual/ casual during lunch and brunch and a little more dressy for dinner.
Don't be afraid to try something new; You will not be disappointed!
Fine Dining?...No, Not Quite. – The service was good, but the food was unimpressive. The over-all flavors of the dishes were tasty, but the presentation and some of the ingredients ( canned, sliced olives and store-bought croutons ) left a lot to be desired, and the food pricing and portion sizes were confusing. The day we went, the kitchen was incredibly slow. The dessert was a little strange; the Goat Cheese Panna Cotta would have been much better paired w/a fig-compote, rather than the sugary, strawberry topping that resembled something you might find at a cafeteria. ( we were impressed w/the wine list, though ) The ambiance is decent, but noisy. This restaurant is suffering from an identity crises. It hasn't decided what it wants to be ... are you an artsy, swanky place you can take your clients to for a cocktail and a meal that reflects the newest culinary trends, or are you a casual, elegant place where you could meet your parents for lunch and at night take your sweetie to for an intimate dinner?
Risks taken here...... – Chef James Shrader's sand-box always surprises! Varied menu, very high quality food. Four of us sampled across the menu from adventurous to solid classics with Chef's twist. Knowledgable (pretty) staff and good winelist rounded things out. Small plate menu was excellent and daring, desserts great. This was my favorite 'foodie' experience in Tulsa.
One of Tulsa's better places to eat – Have eaten at the Palace several times and have always had very good meals. The menu is very diverse and have never had anything bad. The Gnoucci is the best entreee I have had, a there appetizers are great. Nice wine list. I would recommend it highly.
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