Jeri Zane never had owned a café when she trademarked Kiss-Me-Kwik Café & Catering.
“I hoped I would have a café some day, and it would have been difficult to get a new trademark on the name,” Zane said recently.
Her vision came true a month ago when she opened Kiss-Me-Kwik Café inside The Market at Walnut Creek, a marketplace for home décor, accessories and gifts.
Kiss-Me-Kwik is a quaint, pretty lunch spot that offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups, quiche and desserts, virtually all made from scratch.
We visited near the end of the lunch hour on a recent Saturday, and several tables still held groups of diners. Reservations are recommended during the lunch hour rush.
After some debate, we settled on the chicken salad sandwich ($10), pastrami and Swiss sandwich ($10), the soup of the day — black-eyed pea ($6) — and a piece of espresso fudge cake ($7). We took home a classic club sandwich ($10) and veggie club sandwich ($9) for later.
The chicken salad was filled with sliced red grapes, green onion, celery, cashews and a creamy mayo dressing on a soft croissant. The pastrami and Swiss featured layers of pastrami and melted baby Swiss cheese with a slightly spicy mustard aioli on toasted Tuscan-style bread.
The sandwiches came with one side and of the four choices we selected red-skinned potato salad with bacon, celery and egg, and a creamy pasta salad with peas, purple onion and a little red pepper. Both were excellent.
Other sides are a fruit cup and a house salad.
A standout for me was the black-eyed pea soup. It included a beef broth filled with tomato, green onion, celery and a good amount of bacon, and it came out piping hot.
The cake was rich and delicious and perfect to share. It was a mocha-flavored cake with a mocha butter cream frosting and espresso ganache. The coffee flavor was distinctive but not overpowering. The signature dessert is carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
We also received a couple of complimentary cheese sticks. They were long, delicate, flaky pastries sprinkled with Parmesan.
Both sandwiches we took home were tasty. The classic club included smoked, uncured turkey breast, bacon, lettuce, tomato and smoked cheddar cheese on toasted bread. The veggie club had hummus and avocado take the place of the turkey and bacon.
Zane is surrounded by personal friends at Kiss-Me-Kwik. The sous chef is Carleton Orme, for whom she worked as a server at Boston Avenue Diner in the early 1990s. As a young woman who moved here from Mannford during that time, she also worked at Interurban, S&J Oyster, Harvard Club and Grapevine.
Our server, Trish, also is a personal friend of Zane’s and never had waited tables in her life. She did a fine job with our table.
Dishes at Kiss-Me-Kwik are presented on white china in a beguiling setting that includes white tablecloths topped with glass, wood beams, chandeliers and large, for-sale paintings of flowers and lips by local artist Alma Rankin.
An image of lips, understandably, is the logo for Kiss-Me-Kwik Café.
“I looked all over the internet for lips and wasn’t finding anything, then I looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Why not my lips,’ ” Zane said. “I trademarked the lips logo, too.”
Zane said she previously catered desserts to Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores, and while living in Berryhill, she catered lunches to teachers at the middle school and high school four days a week.
She moved to Lawton for a brief time and was assistant chef at the officers’ club at Fort Sill.
“Loved the job, hated the town, so I moved back to Tulsa and was a culinarian at Tulsa Tech,” Zane said. “That was frustrating because I was preparing food I knew I could make a lot better.”
From there, she was kitchen manager for a couple of Mental Health Association Oklahoma facilities, managed a coney place for a short time to help a friend and was working at Rx Catering when the opportunity to open her own place surfaced.
“Hayden Burlingame, who plays with The Fabulous Mid Life Crisis Band, was our landlord,” Zane said. “We became friends, I catered one of his parties, and he told me about the opening at The Market.
“The funny things is, I remember I ate here eight years ago — sat right at that table over there — and thought, ‘I would love to have this place or something like it some day.’ I’m so excited to be here.”