Queenie's Cafe and Bakery — small but creative
TULSA â€” Queenies is a striking spot in the verdant tree-lined Utica Square shopping precinct. The pink and orange chairs leap off the sidewalk while cows prance across the signage. Clearly, itâ€™s a cafĂ© that doesnâ€™t take itself too seriously.
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
â€śWe can act out in that way,â€ť owner Ruth Young said. â€śWhen you have a small space, you have to be creative.â€ť
Small, it most definitely is. A sign above the counter pegs the maximum occupancy at 42. Actually, it reads 420 because someone has artfully added a 0, which is about how crowded Queenies feels when youâ€™re trying to get a table for brunch on the weekend (they donâ€™t accept reservations).
â€śIt gets very full,â€ť Ruth admits. â€śPeople fight for seats.â€ť
The hubbub of conversation makes Queenies come alive, as does the challenging art on the walls and the crowd spilling out onto the five tables on the sidewalk. Youâ€™re almost guaranteed to talk to a stranger at Queenies, even if itâ€™s just to apologize for bumping into them.
The cafe has been crowded for years, but â€śsmall and mightyâ€ť is how Ruth plans to keep it.
Queenies originally opened on Brookside in 1981, but moved to Utica Square in 1983. Tulsaâ€™s cafĂ© culture has been playing catch-up ever since.
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