CHEEVER’S – Southern Comfort Food with a Southwest Elegance

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CHEEVER’S – Southern Comfort Food with a Southwest Elegance

Behind one of Oklahoma City’s most popular restaurants lies a piece of Oklahoma City history. Cheever’s Café occupies a building that was once the family home of Oklahoma Belle Cunningham, the first baby born in the newly incorporated Oklahoma City. She would grow up and marry L.L. Cheever, and in 1938, the two would purchase the family home on Hudson Street.

Belle would run a flower business out of the home, and the family lived in the back of the historic Victorian home as late as the 1990s. Cheever’s Flowers was a solid family business for decades, and house was home to three generations of Cheevers.

Heather and Keith Paul, owners of A Good Egg Dining Group, purchased the building in 2000. Much of the original home/business is still intact, including the original terrazzo floors and the refrigeration case for fresh flowers—it now holds flowers, wine, and beer.

Cheever’s Café is regularly cited as a favorite destination for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The food is probably best described as Southern comfort food with a Southwest twist, but the staff has more than sufficient flexibility and talent to pull off even the most elegant of dishes.

Because it is comfort food, you will find a chicken fried steak on the menu. The good news is that there is a lunch/brunch portion and a dinner portion. Unless you haven’t eaten in days, plan on taking some of the dinner-sized portion home with you. The beef is tender, and the batter is crispy and delicious. What makes the dish is the jalapeno cream gravy! Thankfully, it’s served with mashed potatoes, so go ahead and ask for more gravy.

Once you have the chicken fried steak, and if you’re thinking “death row meal,” why not try the chocolate cake for dessert? It’s a rich, moist layer cake, and it goes wonderfully with an after-dinner coffee. Again, fair warning; it is roughly the size of a baby’s head. You can put it in the refrigerator to snack on for the next two days.

One of the signature items at Cheever’s reflects the Southwest twist: Juan’s Queso Chihuahua. It’s best to let the menu do the description here. The dish is composed of layers of black beans, roasted garlic crema, and melted chihuahua cheese topped with fresh avocados and tomatillo salsa. Of course it’s served with tortilla chips and pico de gallo.

Another favorite appetizer is the quail stack. This one makes a nice meal, especially when topped with a fried egg. Layers of tortillas, cheeses, ancho chile sauce, and roasted quail are topped with avocado salsa verde. They will make it for you just about any time, and it’s wonderful with a glass of Cava from Cheever’s newly designed wine list.

Brunch at Cheever’s is served on Saturday and Sunday, but reservations are strongly recommended, especially on Sunday. One of the favorite dishes among the regulars is shrimp and grits. Garlic-white wine braised jumbo shrimp are wrapped in bacon and served on cheddar-green onion grits with Sriracha-honey butter. It’s a rich, slightly spicy indulgence.

A full bar is always available, and brunch does feature Mimosas or Cheever’s wonderful Rosé Mojito. Beverage director Jason Ewald has done a wonderful job with the new wine list, and he has made classic cocktails an emphasis, giving Cheever’s bar an old world charm consistent with the building’s amazing history.

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