This is the story of how the husband and wife team, Trey and Christina Winkle, followed their dream to open Levain Kitchen and Bakery while maintaining balance and romance.
It’s been a long-time dream of Christina and Trey Winkle to open their own restaurant. The two met at the home of a mutual friend over ten years ago and learned they both worked in the restaurant industry. They became good friends and eventually worked at Juniper when it opened in 2011, where Christina gained even more appreciation for Trey as Chef de Cuisine. “He had such a great work ethic and sense of responsibility. He was a talented chef, and we developed great mutual respect for each other.”
Their friendship grew deeper and they married in 2014 after Trey began working as head chef at R Bar. Christina was a full-time mom to their two daughters, but the couple never stopped discussing their dream to open their own restaurant. Last year, they were approached by Bill Grant and Angie Scott about a vacancy in the Shops of Seville at 101st and Yale, in Tulsa. A few short months later, Christina and Trey lived out their dream and opened Levain Kitchen and Bakery.
Christina told me that some of the best advice she received about working together as a married couple was from Miranda Kaiser, owner of Laffa. She said…
“To be successful in business as a married couple, make sure you keep things separate and respect each other’s space. Always ask permission when giving advice in each other’s cooking area.”
Trey has a fascination with natural yeast. He’s been practicing brewing his own beer, and he loves making sourdough starters for his bread at Levain using indigenous methods. He told me he doesn’t think he is even close to perfecting his bread-making, but is learning all the time.
However, his bread at Levain is already delicious, making his dishes at Levain stand out in freshness and flavor. He makes over 40 loaves a week, and is now selling his bread to Heirloom Rustic Ales to make their Kvass beer. Christina works daily on the pastry side of the restaurant. Lia Lewis, the talented pastry chef from Platt College has been working with and training Christina to make the delicious pastries served on the bakery side of Levain. Christina told me that making pastries is one of the most difficult things she’s ever done. They make all their croissants, English muffins, cakes, baguettes, and meringues by hand, using the best ingredients.
Levain is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30-3:30. Trey prepares the hot dishes, like eggs benedict, frittata, omelets, short rib sandwiches, and warm salads, while Lia and Christina make the pastries. They’re hoping to prepare weekend dinners, so keep up with them on their Facebook page for that announcement. Meanwhile, go meet Christina and Trey, sit down for some hot coffee or tea, and make that difficult decision of what you’re going to order off the menu. It’s a great place to connect with friends and bring your kiddos. And for those who live in south Tulsa, it’s a welcomed breath of bread-scented fresh air!
Editor’s Note: Trey Winkle has since moved on to working with the Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy team, but we just love this story of Trey & Christina! Levain is still open and serves Lunch, Brunch & Dinner Tuesday through Sunday.