Arriving for the first time at the new Sage Gourmet Market and Cafe in Deep Deuce, Micheal Sparks admits that he’s dumbfounded.
The New York City designer started working with Charifa and Kevin Smith about a year ago to convert the first floor of their building into downtown’s first organic market and cafe.
Stepping inside this week, Sparks saw a busy cafe, residents mixing at the bar and a couple browsing the new market — all this in a business that only opened last week.
"It’s amazing,” Sparks said. "We have clients here who were open to learning about a new business. That in itself is an achievement. A lot of people think they can just open a business themselves and do it right.”
The design of the combined market and cafe blends old and new. Modern lighting fixtures, an exposed ceiling and contemporary furnishings are set against an antique bar and old grocery display cases that Charifa Smith said date to the 1930s.
"We thought they would stay along our theme and old Oklahoma, old times, and bring life to that,” Charifa Smith said.
A full wall mural depicting Deep Deuce in the 1930s, when it was an all-black business district, dominates the south side of the cafe.
"We think it’s a great depiction of what old Oklahoma was. We love it and we’ve gotten a lot of great comments about it,” she said. "They want to know where we are located on it and it’s become a conversation piece.