Happy 1st Birthday, Coffee House on Cherry Street

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Small businesses, particularly small dining establishments, have an alarming rate of infant mortality. About one in four restaurants either close or change ownership in their first year. While that's not as bad as the oft-cited but mythical 90%, it's still worth celebrating when a restaurant survives to its first birthday.

That's particularly true when the establishment is a place as wonderful as the Coffee House on Cherry Street, at the corner of 15th and Rockford in the historic Cherry Street commercial district. Tonight from 7:30 to 11, they're having a party to celebrate the shop's first birthday, with live music, cake, and of course, some of Tulsa's best coffee. (They serve Topéca, roasted in a storefront in the Mayo Hotel.)

Along with Shades of Brown Coffee on Brookside, the Coffee House on Cherry Street has become one of my favorite hangouts (to the extent that I have time to hang out away from home). I often come here to work on my Urban Tulsa Weekly column, and it's my "office" when meeting prospective MIT students for their admissions interviews.

My friend Cheri Asher, the owner, has created a special place. She took what was the First Edition Bookstore, added a streetside deck and created an inviting gathering place.

Other midtown coffee houses have come and gone, including a very good one right down the street. Why has CHCS succeeded? The location is easy to find, in the heart of the Cherry Street district, and it's easy to stop by on your way to or from downtown. CHCS is open from early 'til late -- 11 p.m. weeknights and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. It's laptop friendly, with a strong WiFi signal and plenty of power outlets. There's the right mix of seating for big groups and small parties, for those who want to relax on a cozy sofa or confer over laptops around a table. There's a chiminea and a little fireplace out on the deck. (Sometimes you can even roast marshmallows over the fire.)

While many coffee houses offer only a selection of pastries, CHCS not only has wonderful brownies, cookies, and muffins, but also a tasty range of sandwiches, quiches, quesadillas, and salads -- in other words, food you could have for a meal, not just dessert.

The coffee's good, too, and the baristas are knowledgeable and fun to talk to.

The result is a place that's suitable for all sorts of occasions -- a business discussion, a chat between friends, dessert after an event at the PAC, a quick cup on the way to work or the way home, studying for exams alone or in a group, reading for relaxation, catching up on e-mail, spending several hours writing a column (as I do almost every week), or just hanging out and seeing who you might run into. It's rare that I don't bump into someone I know and have an impromptu chat about something. Tulsa needs places like the Coffee House on Cherry Street.

If you've not tried the Coffee House on Cherry Street, tonight would be a great time to check it out. Come by and congratulate Cheri on a successful first year and many years of success to come.

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Natasha said:

Aaron and I were there just earlier today. It was the perfect end to some early-morning bird watching at the Oxley Nature Center. We had de-caff coffee (which doesn't taste like burnt dirt like the de-caff at so many other coffee joints) and jalapeƱo and cheddar sausage rolls...yummm! We like to go to CHCS because we can study and work there amidst just the right amount of ambient noise/music, we can eat something besides a double-sugar monster muffin, and we usually see people we know. Good times. Happy first birthday, CHCS!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 2, 2007 6:23 PM.

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