Ole encore

A new owner refreshes Cafe Olé’s menu, keeping many of its longtime favorites.



One of my favorite things about visiting New Mexico is the heady smell of piñon wood burning from chimineas all over the state. The fragrance is by all means unique, something we don’t get to experience too often in our parts. 

But if you head due east of South Peoria Avenue on 35th Street, the piñon smell is likely to grab you, along with the smell of toasty tortillas, both beckoning you to walk through the doors of Cafe Olé. 

Don Jones and his partners bought the New Mex-themed Brookside eatery in January 2013. After he took the reins, the staff got to work immediately. 

“We closed for a week to get things cleaned up and organized,” he says.

The shiny patina is evident in both the restaurant’s appearance (new booths have been added in the back hall) and the food. Jones tweaked some of the longtime menu items and added a handful of new, healthier dishes.

The restaurant itself is closing in on three decades of operation (it opened back in 1987) and did a brisk business for many of those years. Jones hopes its loyal customers will continue to come. 

He brings a multitude of restaurant experience to the table, so they should. Jones was a founding partner of Peppers Grill before leaving to open The Savory Chef, a popular retail cookware shop and cooking school that he operated for several years with his wife, Leslie

After the store closed, Jones managed the restaurant at Bass Pro Shops until the Olé deal came about, and he is happy for the new challenge. 

“This is unlike any restaurant I have ever been a part of,” he says. “It is the closest thing to a real backyard barbecue.”

The kitchen still cranks out many original menu items. Among the most popular dishes are Olé Queso ($5.50) — a secret creamy blend of melted Monterey Jack, cream cheese, peppers, onions and spices; the Olé Grill ($7.50), grilled Monterey Jack cheese on whole wheat bread with green chilies, red onion and tomato slices; and Stacked Blue Corn Enchiladas ($12), three blue corn tortillas dipped in red chili Colorado and layered with black beans, your choice of chicken, pork, beef or veggies, melted jack, mild green chilies and sour cream.

Because of customer requests, Jones added a traditional queso dip ($8), made with three kinds of cheese (Chihuahua, Monterey Jack and white cheddar), green chilies and spices. I take advantage of any opportunity to enjoy breakfast for dinner, so I often order huevos rancheros ($7.50), two blue corn tortillas smothered in ranchero sauce topped with two over-easy eggs, served with black beans, sour cream and rice.

Unlike many other Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants, Olé’s sauces, beans and rice are all vegetarian. Vegetarian entrees, salads and other somewhat lighter dishes now pepper the menu. I’m quite fond of the tortilla soup (pulled chicken in a savory tomato broth; $4-$5) and its spicy sidekick, jalapeño cornbread. 

Stop in for brunch on Saturdays (9 a.m.-noon) and Sundays (9 a.m.-2 p.m.) and enjoy authentic New-Mex dishes, including those huevos rancheros, as well as breakfast burritos, Olé Hash and other hearty fare. Banana bread and pancakes also are offered to satisfy those with a bit of a morning sweet tooth.

Leslie Jones, an accomplished baker, is in command of the desserts. Her rich and creamy key lime pie alone is worth a visit. 

Besides the great food, the best reason to visit Cafe Olé is the patio. On any given evening, the fireplace is roaring, the lights are twinkling, and the tables are full of friends and families enjoying the ambience. No matter the weather outside (clear plastic curtain walls and heat lamps keep the chill at bay during cooler months), the patio is the place to be.

And if the heat of our Tulsa summer does get to you, the famous Cafe Olé Margarita, made with fresh-squeezed lime juice and gold tequila ($7.25/$8.25) is just an order away.

 

Tamales to go

Cafe Ole’s tamales are made by hand in small batches, wrapped in cornhusks and steamed. Choose from five fillings (roasted pork, cheese, ranchero chicken, veggies and chili verde chicken) and five sauces (queso, chipotle, ranchero, chili verde or salsa) for $36-$45 per dozen. If possible, call ahead before the craving strikes; the kitchen needs a 24-hour notice.

 

Cafe Olé

3509 S. Peoria Ave., 918-745-6699 www.cafeolebrookside.com 

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday; 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday

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October 2019

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Sponsor: Abersons
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Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
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Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

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Cost: 0.00

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Cost: $8 for ages 13+, $4 for ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free.

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3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
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View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

More information

Willkommen to four days of Oompah (or Bavaria or Oktoberfest) in Oklahoma  with nationally known German bands, authentic European foods, arts and  crafters MarktHaus, full carnival, and fun...

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2100 S. Jackson Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Resolute PR
Telephone: 903-292-7885
Contact Name: Zachary Johnston
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Living Arts of Tulsa
307 East Reconciliation Way
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View map »

More information

Hello, Friends!   Fall is in the air! We are excited to present the 5th Annual Hugo Pumpkin Festival, a fun-filled event featuring a variety of entertaining activities for the whole family....

Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

Where:
Endangered Ark Foundation
2657 E 2070 Rd
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View map »


Sponsor: Endangered Ark Foundation
Telephone: 580-317-8470
Contact Name: Emily
Website »

More information

Go into the woods and experience the return of this fantastic family production with performances in both Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Tulsa Ballet's Hardesty Family Foundation Children's...

Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
Website »

More information

Abersons presents Pink Ribbon -- an exclusive, high-fashion fundraiser featuring a runway show by one of the world's hottest designers. Cocktails 6 p.m. | Dinner & Live Auction 7...

Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
View map »


Sponsor: Abersons
Telephone: 918-834-7200
Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
Website »

More information

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Cost: $0

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View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

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Cost: free

Where:
Tulsa Historical Society
2445 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

More information

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Cost: $24.50-$75.00

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View map »


Sponsor: Compassion Live
Telephone: 877-234-3847
Contact Name: Carol
Website »

More information

Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
View map »


Telephone: 918-813-6514
Website »

More information

Signature Symphony at TCC celebrates the work of the late Ernie Fields, a Tulsa icon who had a career as a bandleader and trombonist. Fields’ music developed at a time when R&B, swing,...

Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
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10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

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Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
View map »


Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The annual US National Arabian & Half Arabian Horse Show returns to Tulsa. You will be able to see over 1700 Arabian and Half Arabian horses competing in many divisions, including Breeding/In Hand...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Tulsa State Fairgrounds
4145 E 21st St,
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303-6964500
Contact Name: Kelsey Berglund
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10-70

Where:
Allen Chapman Student Union
440 S Gary Ave
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Sponsor: Nimrod
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

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Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry will host its annual Conference for Readers and Writers at The University of Tulsa on October 19th, 2019.   The Conference offers the...

Cost: $10-$70

Where:
TU's Allen Chapman Student Union
440 S. Gary Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74104
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Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
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Willkommen to four days of Oompah (or Bavaria or Oktoberfest) in Oklahoma  with nationally known German bands, authentic European foods, arts and  crafters MarktHaus, full carnival, and fun...

Cost: $10 at the gate or $7 in advance for adults. Children 12 and under are FREE.

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 S. Jackson Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74107
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Sponsor: Resolute PR
Telephone: 903-292-7885
Contact Name: Zachary Johnston
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Hello, Friends!   Fall is in the air! We are excited to present the 5th Annual Hugo Pumpkin Festival, a fun-filled event featuring a variety of entertaining activities for the whole family....

Cost: $ 6 - $ 20

Where:
Endangered Ark Foundation
2657 E 2070 Rd
Hugo, OK  74743
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Sponsor: Endangered Ark Foundation
Telephone: 580-317-8470
Contact Name: Emily
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The Karbach Games and Competitions Arena becomes our own center of the universe Saturday at 2:00 PM for true fans of German bier. Why? Because it is ground zero for the Linde Oktoberfest Bavarian...

Cost: $40

Where:
River West Festival Park
2100 South Jackson Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74107
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Sponsor: River Parks
Contact Name: Ryan Howell

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Folk Salad Radio Show celebrates its 20th anniversary with a potluck meal followed by a concert featuring Grammy-nominated singer songwriter John Fullbright and several other Tulsa musicians on...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Stone Church
4225 W. Fifth St.
Tulsa, OK
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Sponsor: Folk Salad Radio Show
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Go into the woods and experience the return of this fantastic family production with performances in both Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Tulsa Ballet's Hardesty Family Foundation Children's...

Cost: $15

Where:
Studio K (Tulsa) and Zarrow Studio (Broken Arrow(
1212 E 45th Place
Tulsa, OK  74105
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Sponsor: Tulsa Ballet
Telephone: 918-749-6006
Contact Name: Dan
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Abersons presents Pink Ribbon -- an exclusive, high-fashion fundraiser featuring a runway show by one of the world's hottest designers. Cocktails 6 p.m. | Dinner & Live Auction 7...

Cost: $1,250

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st St.
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Abersons
Telephone: 918-834-7200
Contact Name: Scarlet Henley
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America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
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Join us for Nimrod Write Night, the opening event of our Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers weekend, on Friday, October 18th, at the Tulsa Historical Society, 6:30 p.m. Write Night is...

Cost: free

Where:
Tulsa Historical Society
2445 S. Peoria Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sponsor: Nimrod Journal
Telephone: 918-631-3080
Contact Name: Cassidy McCants
Website »

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Originally from West Africa, Kizomba is a partner dance that is a sexy addition to any Latin dance party. It is the fastest Latin growing dance in the U.S. Come and learn the basics plus a few more...

Cost: 109

Where:
THE DANCE PLACE
3310 WEST 42ND PLACE
TULSA, OK  74107
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Telephone: 918-813-6514
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Flashes of vivid colors, laughter, dancers whirling around keeping pace with the energetic music, more laughter……this is what you will experience at Guthrie Green this Saturday,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Guthrie Green
111 East M.B. Brady Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: SAPAF
Telephone: 918-665-6419
Contact Name: Mohan Kelkar
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Signature Symphony at TCC celebrates the work of the late Ernie Fields, a Tulsa icon who had a career as a bandleader and trombonist. Fields’ music developed at a time when R&B, swing,...

Cost: $36 - $58

Where:
VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education
10300 E 81st St
Tulsa, OK  74133-4513
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Sponsor: Signature Symphony at TCC
Telephone: 918-595-7768
Contact Name: Tabitha Littlefield
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Tulsa in Harmony is a congregation of community choirs, lending their voices in one accord. They sing of their hopes and their faith and aspirations of a more unified community and a more unified...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way E.
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Where:
ONEOK Field
201 N Elgin Ave
Tulsa, OK
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What's New


3.06: Representing District 73 - Regina Goodwin

A conversation with the state representative about issues in her district, plus what it's like being a Democrat in the state legislature. Plus Tulsa Architect Foundation's Amanda DeCort on the Blue Dome District and new music from Count Tutu.

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Oklahoma's Best-Sellers: Oct. 13

Based on total number of book sales at Magic City Books, Best of Books in Edmond, Brace Books and More in Ponca City, and Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City.

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CLIFFDIVER on mental health, Tulsa and their new music

A Q&A with the Tulsa band that describes its sound as "Elevator Emo Pop"

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Oklahoma Best-Sellers: Oct. 6

Based on total number of book sales at Magic City Books, Best of Books in Edmond, Brace Books and More in Ponca City, and Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City.

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Henna Roso on food insecurity and songwriting

Members of the Tulsa funk, jazz band discuss their new album and what drives them

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