Combination coffee shop and cocktail lounge coming to Tulsa soon
BY Nicole Marshall Middleton World Scene Writer
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
11/27/12 at 7:00 PM
If a combination coffee shop and cocktail lounge is your dream come true, stay tuned.
If all goes as planned, John Gaberino, president of Topeca, hopes to open Hodges Bend — featuring coffee, wine and cocktails — at 823 E. Third St. by mid-December. Gaberino’s partner in the venture is Noah Bush, a certified sommelier and mixology expert.
And it’s that sort of expertise that Hodges Bend will emphasize, Gaberino and Bush said.
“The education for employees is a huge aspect, because if you go and ask for a cup coffee or glass of wine and that barista or sommelier makes a recommendation without really listening or understanding or knowing what the flavors are in the drink that he is offering, there is a disconnect,” Gaberino said.
Gaberino said opening a coffee shop and lounge such as Hodges Bend has been a dream of his for about five years. But he didn’t want to rush the venture until he was sure he had gathered people with the proper education and expertise.
Bush is well-known in Tulsa as an expert in his field. The head barista will be Mason
Remel, and all of the full-time employees are trained and certified as coffee experts.
“We are going to showcase what wine, coffee and cocktails can be,” Bush said. “The whole idea of raising the bar on coffee is to show how it is very much like wine. They both have a place of origin, they both have varietals, and it all comes down to the processing or the wine making,” Bush said.
Gaberino said the goal is to create an environment where the expectations are high so the customer is expecting excellence.
To do so, he said the equipment and the personnel have to be prepared. For example, the owners have designed their own coffee-brewing system for Hodges Bend and custom-built the bar from the bottom up to suit their serving needs.
The decor is intended to be comfortable with an element of elegance, Gaberino said. And they have invested in a vintage record player with about 300-400 records to play.
Hodges Bend was named after the historical name of the neighborhood where the lounge is located, Gaberino said. The Hodges family included some of the founders of Tulsa, and the area was named after them.
Hodges Bend will sell some foods, such as pastries from their bakery and cheese platters, to complement the coffee and drinks.
Another place scheduled for a mid-December opening that will mix full bar service with coffee and food is Phoenix Cafe, 1302 E. Sixth St.
Blake Ewing’s Phoenix Cafe will make its own boiled bagels, as well as flavored mashmallows to make s’mores on table hibachis. Other food items will include sandwiches, panini and table fondue.
Topeca Coffee's John Gaberino poses in front of a mural at his roastery at 1229 E. Admiral Blvd.