It’s a beautiful day in the heart of the Tulsa Arts District. Before walking into the unassuming cafe at 212 N Main St., I lingered at the sight of Tulsa’s skyline and neighboring buildings in the district; all signs of the successful development of downtown. Only in the last few years have I, a born and raised Tulsan, taken the time to explore all that the Brady Arts District has to offer. Cain’s Ballroom. Guthrie Green. Brady Theater. But tucked in the middle of this inventive neighborhood is Chimera Café, a brick-covered space known for their specialty coffee and vegan-friendly (and carnivore-beloved) food.
The urban and stylish café is outfitted with artwork, simple furniture and a bookcase full of games, in case you’re there to pass the time. On this particular afternoon, various groups of people were settled working on laptops, gathered on the couch with friends, or even at the bar sipping on a beer.
“The idea was just to bring a nice, urban café to the downtown area with all the galleries opening up, but we wanted to do the food with a plant-based menu in mind and work from there,”
says Robert Stuart, Owner and Operator of Chimera.
Over half of the menu is vegetarian or vegan friendly and many items are made from scratch daily and are locally sourced.
Their specialty coffee is made using only the best possible coffee from a multitude of roasters around the nation. They’re also a “slow bar” shop, so your pick from their tempting menu may take a little time but it’s worth it, as their three manual brew methods help to dial in the flavors and create their delicious and crafty coffee selections.
As a girl who knocks back coffee like it’s water but still has a particular taste for a quality cup of coffee, I was eager to try their cold brew, which had been dubbed by a friend as “the best in town”. Mixed with cocoa nibs, various woods, and other spices depending on the season, this spicy blend was full-bodied yet refreshing. It paired very nicely with their vegan cinnamon roll. Glazed and dotted with candied almonds, it was uncompromisingly delicious.
The Lily salad was an abundance of veggies on kale, topped with avocado, smoked paprika hummus, cashew spread, and smoked adzuki strips, an in-house creation made from adzuki beans and spices and used as a substitute for bacon—yet again, not a compromise as the flavorful adzuki strips held their own. The salad used bison dressing which is, in fact, vegan.
The Hinault salad had a vibrant array of blueberries, strawberries, pineapples, lavender buds, and nuts, on kale that was massaged with cashew spread. I had never been a huge fan of kale until I came here. But now, I’m a changed woman.
For carnivores, the BlueBird Sandwich is a satisfying, sweet and savory choice that’s a nice break from the traditional lunch. Featuring grilled turkey, thick cut bacon, pickled blueberry smash, brie and mayo served with choice of side; carrots and hummus or terra veggie chips. All Chimera’s sandwiches are deliciously served on house-made bread.
For those looking for something with a little more of a kick, Chimera also offers a full bar that flaunts craft beer, a cocktail menu, and even a selection of coffee-infused drinks that, I’ll admit, I’ll be returning for in the spring when I’m legal.
Chimera, by definition, is a Greek mythological creature with a lion’s head, a goat’s body and a serpent’s tail. A hybrid. Much like Chimera Café. A coffee shop, café and full bar all in one; the perfect place for a vegan brunch, an afternoon pick me up, or even a nightcap.