Review by Scott Cherry Photos by Stephen Pingry
Wild Meadows Café is part tea room, part bakery and part café, and the three mesh comfortably together in the small eatery in far east Broken Arrow.
On the dainty side of the menu, it has cucumber tea sandwiches, quiches, chicken salad and lemon Caesar salad. On the hunkier side are hot roast beef sandwich, Siegi’s German sausages, personal pizzas, loaded baked potatoes and pasties.
Bakery goodies include such items as s’more cupcakes, macarons, carrot cake cinnamon rolls and a line of mostly traditional cookies, including sugar cookie, oatmeal, snickerdoodle and double chocolate.
Tea lovers can choose from some 100 selections, including 17 bearing the Wild Meadows label.
The more fluffy side of the décor includes large paintings that are copies of the Wild Meadows tea labels, mostly soft pastels that often include a bunny rabbit in the frame. Shelves hold tea sets, teapots and tea accessories for sale. Otherwise, the room isn’t lacy or feminine; gentlemen concerned about ambience should be comfortable, and it is very child-friendly.
“I basically opened a café in front of my tea factory,” owner Marianna Wilson said. “I wanted it to be a place where families and people of all ages can gather in a community. Our motto is ‘creativity, curiosity, community.’ ”
We were curious about trying some of the menu items on a recent visit. Among our choices were a steak and potato pasty ($9), white chicken chili baked potato ($8), chicken garden salad ($8.50) and chicken salad sandwich ($8.50).
The pasty (pass-tee), considered the national dish of Cornwall, United Kingdom, is a baked folded pastry filled with a wide variety of items. Mine included chunks of beef, carrots, leeks, pearl onions, mashed potatoes and turnips, and it was one tasty pasty.
It did not look very large, but paired with a side of fruit and a bowl of thick rosemary gravy for dipping, it was plenty for a large lunch or modest dinner.
The baked potato was a sizable fellow, and it was loaded with the flavorful and mild white chicken chili. We added shredded cheese, green onions and sour cream. The chili also is available by the cup or bowl.
The chicken salad sandwich included a mix of garlic, mayo, grapes, green onions, sliced almonds and dried cranberries. Customers have the option of adding about 10 more items, but I liked it as it was. It is available on a croissant, whole-wheat bread, gluten-free bread or just plain on a bed of lettuce.
The chicken garden salad was huge, filled with bright-green greens, carrots, chunks of chicken, cucumbers, green onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and tomatoes. We chose the dilled ranch dressing, which had a unique but pleasing flavor.
Chef and kitchen manager Patrick Nickel offers daily specials. It was a pork chop stuffed with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, served over a pool of sweet potato puree and a side of broccoli the day we were there.
On the sweet side, the carrot cake cinnamon roll, topped with a thick layer of icing, was flavorful and really sweet. The large cookies were perfect, not too soft, not too hard.
Wild Meadows also has a weekly Very Merry Unbirthday Cake, a nod to Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass.” Last week, it was a tall chocolate mint.
“I’m just a big fan of Alice in Wonderland and the fairy tales I grew up with,” Wilson said.
We got our teas — a peachy one and a blueberry — iced and unsweetened on a hot afternoon. Wilson said many customers choose to add one of 10 sweeteners or add-ins (milk, lemon, almond milk, cream, cayenne, etc.) to the teas.
The restaurant serves breakfast Saturdays with items such as burritos ($7 with bottomless coffee and one side, $5 a la carte), biscuits and gravy, French toast and waffles.
Wild Meadows also has what it calls American Tea Time from 2-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, when customers may receive a bottomless cup of the two teas of the day, plus a choice of four treats served from a tea cart for $5. Box lunches also are available for pick-up or delivery.
Wilson got into the tea-making business about three years ago.
“Christine (Joseph) at Nouveau-Atelier du Chocolat (now Nouveau Chocolates under new ownership) let me manufacture my teas there in downtown Broken Arrow,” she said. “I had a license to do it there.”
Then, Wilson said she got a break in her career as an IT project manager and started looking for a spot to open Wild Meadows, the name of her mother’s farm near Rochester, New York.
“I was taking my kids to a party at a dance studio in this complex and saw this location for lease and loved it,” said Wilson, who grew up in New York and Florida and came to Oklahoma to attend Oral Roberts University.
Wilson said she has had young children come in to play musical instruments, and the restaurant has hosted bridal showers, baby showers, tea parties, etc. Books and board games are available.
“The other night, I saw two adults playing Chutes and Ladders,” she said. “Isn’t that fun?”
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