Art can be used to describe many things; at an eatery in Oklahoma City’s Paseo Arts District, great food is one of them.
Picasso Cafe is known as the place where “great food is an art,” and that motto is embraced wholeheartedly by the tight-knit family of employees that work there, said Marti Storie, general manager.
“You can create with anything, why not food as well?” she said.
The late John Belt, the Paseo’s founding father, coined the restaurant’s name because he wanted a Picasso-esque eatery in the district. Belt died in March after a brief bout with cancer. As one greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was well-known for his abstract artwork. Since 2009, Picasso Cafe has gained a loyal following that, quite fittingly, is made up of an abstract group of people from all walks of life.
“I mean you have a hippie living over here in the middle of Paseo all the way to Nichols Hills and Edmondites, and people coming from out of state even,” she said. “This one lady drives just for the lobster bisque from up by Kansas somewhere.”
The majority of the restaurant patrons are regulars. Local artists make up a bulk of their clientele, which adds to the already quirky atmosphere. The restaurant’s menu reads, “We at Picasso Cafe are proud of our bohemian roots and embrace the diversity that pervades these ideals.” Storie said she is focused on taking the neighborly vibe from the streets outside in Paseo Arts District, and infusing it throughout the restaurant. Picasso Cafe customers are treated as guests in a home.
“We are very keen about making sure everybody is treated like family,” Storie said. “If they’re not regulars now, once they come they usually become regulars.”
The restaurant is big on supporting local businesses, and aims to use as many local ingredients in their dishes as possible. The pasta, bread, herbs, flowers and more are all made or grown locally. Storie had difficulty describing Picasso Cafe’s main type of food with dishes ranging from macaroni and cheese to the Ahi tuna Indian taco.
“American, maybe?” she said. “It’s like the melting pot of good food.”
The restaurant showcases musicians every Thursday to Saturday at Paseo Sessions. Everything from blue grass to rock n’ roll is played live in the restaurant. The establishment has also recently incorporated an Artist of the Month art show. A different local artists’ work is dispersed throughout the space and put up for sale each month.
“As people are enjoying the art, they might as well enjoy it in here as well,” she said. “We are the heart of Paseo.”
What: Picasso Cafe
Where: 3009 Paseo
Hours: 11 a.m. — 10 p.m., Monday — Wednesday; 11 a.m. — midnight; Thursday; 11 a.m. — 2 a.m., Friday — Saturday; 10:30 a.m. — 3 p.m., 4 — 9 p.m., Sunday
Contact: 405 — 602 — 2002