Restaurant Reconnaissance: Bramble Breakfast & Bar
When scoping out a local restaurant scene, some of us look for a place to bring a date, and some look for a spot to conduct a business meeting. Some of us want to enjoy a nice meal with our families, and some are simply looking for the best drinks in town. What we’ve discovered is that many local Tulsa restaurants satisfy each of these criteria, and one of those places that handles them all is Bramble Breakfast and Bar, located in Tulsa’s Blue Dome District.
Next door to sister restaurant Tallgrass Prairie Table at 311 E. 2nd St., Bramble is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7am to 2pm on weekdays and 8am to 2pm on weekends. Check out http://www.bramblebartulsa.com/visit/ for menus and more information.
In search of: A kid-friendly restaurant that is also parent-friendly
Since beginning my journey into motherhood four years ago, I’ve made it my mission to find local restaurants that not only serve delicious fare in unique environments, but that also welcome my (mostly) well-behaved child. I am overjoyed when I find a cozy spot to enjoy a glass of wine and indulgent menu items while my tot sips his chocolate milk and noshes on a grilled cheese (sometimes made with artisanal bread and local cheeses, unbeknownst to him).
One of these new discoveries happens to be nestled in the heart of the Blue Dome District: Bramble Breakfast and Bar.
My previous experience at Bramble was an adults-only private party, complete with dimmed lights and a crowded bar. This occasion allowed the bar-scene atmosphere to shine, and left me unsure of how kid-friendly this local gem could be, even during breakfast.
Luckily, as I walked into Bramble with my husband and 4-year-old son on a recent Saturday morning, I felt as welcomed as the craft cocktail connoisseurs had felt at the private party. There were at least a few other diners from the under-10 set, but you’d never know unless you were looking. While Bramble isn’t loud, the chatter from the full house, as well as the music playing in the background, creates an energetic atmosphere that is perfect for families.
Before we entered, I noticed the line, which was nearly out the door, and worried that my son might get a little antsy during a long wait. However, the hostess promised us a 20 minute wait, and even more quickly than that we were seated at our cozy table, menus in hand.
Breakfast at Bramble offers something for everyone. Yes, you can still order a Kir Royale ($7) or even an Old Fashioned ($9), but you can also order your child a chocolate milk ($3, served in a cute, kid-friendly milk bottle). There’s even a TV mounted near the bar, great for catching the Sooners score or distracting the little ones. Another distraction is the paper that covers the tables, as our son enjoyed “writing” with a pen from my purse (the sheets are discarded between guests).
Our server was quick with suggestions for my 4-year-old (apparently the Sears Swedish Pancakes ($7) are a hit among the littlest foodies), and also offered a high chair or booster seat. We accepted the booster seat, which was clean and fit nicely on the bench. There didn’t appear to be any tables in the restaurant that wouldn’t accommodate either a booster seat or a high chair.
Although there isn’t a dedicated kids’ menu, there are kid-friendly options. In addition to the pancakes, I considered the Smash Burger ($7) and the 2nd Street Best Mac & Cheese ($8) for my son. We started with the donut of the day, which was covered in a peanut butter frosting and a sriracha drizzle (which actually didn’t seem all that spicy to the three of us), and didn’t last longer than a few minutes as it was too good to leave untouched.
My little family was delighted by not only the food, but also the welcoming environment of Bramble during our visit. We’ll be back, and we also discussed bringing out-of-towners that we’d like to impress. It’s just that kind of place.
In search of: A place to bring a date
Walking into Bramble, you get the feel of a big city mixed with a farm-friendly atmosphere. It is a beautiful restaurant decorated in chandeliers, stunning artwork and a bar that will leave you speechless—all made by local artists. The restaurant has a lot of natural light, and a fireplace too. Overall, it is a perfect place for a breakfast or lunch date with your love.
Bramble, much like its sister restaurant, Tallgrass Prairie Table, sources the majority of its food from local farmers, and they make everything from scratch, including house-made cottage cheese, something you don’t see on many menus.
Bramble’s food is on another level. Michelle Donaldson continues to uphold her reputation as one of the best chefs in town with Bramble’s menu. The selection includes familiar items that you’ll see at a lot of other places in town, such as the Daily Quiche ($11), Denver Omelette ($12) or Biscuits & Gravy ($6). However, there are also items that will shock you, like Khachapuri ($8), Migas ($10) and Loxtrami ($13). I ordered—or attempted to order—each of these items but they were out of the Loxtrami. My favorite was the Khachapuri. Calling it delicious would be an understatement as you can’t get any better than perfectly baked bread filled with cheese and two eggs cooked over easy. My husband ordered the Smoked Akaushi Brisket Hash ($13). Let’s just say that he was not disappointed—he loved it. I had the Migas, which were good, but a bit too spicy for me. However, I urge those who love spice to order this. I also highly recommend the Smash Burger. I did not have it this visit, but I had previously and it could seriously be the best deal in town. It is delicious and only $7.
Another thing you don’t see very often is Cold Brew Nitro on tap. It looks like I will be visiting them again soon, because it was spot on.
The menu prices are very fair, especially if you take into consideration that everything is made in house and locally sourced, down to jams, butters and house-made sriracha. That is impressive.
Our service was fantastic, as our server was very attentive and helpful with our selections. She did warn me that the Migas are spicy but obviously I did not take her advice, breaking one of my cardinal rules: Always listen to your wait staff. Especially at a restaurant like this. They know the menu better than you, have sampled it and know the shining stars on the menu. When in doubt ask your waiter.
In search of: The best cocktails in town
If your New Year’s resolution was to cut back on spending all night at the bars, Bramble Breakfast & Bar may be just what the doctor ordered. That’s mostly because Bramble is only open until 2pm daily and not at all on Mondays, making it the perfect lap-band solution for your night-life.
When I first stepped into the Bramble, I felt like Ron Swanson at the Bumbershoot festival. My initial urge was to snatch the first mimosa glass and butter knife I saw, call the room to order and announce: “Everyone please remain calm. I’m a man and I am here to drink man-drinks … while smoking a cigar … preferably surrounded by wood paneling.” Instead I found myself staring directly at what I can only assume is the perfect beginning to every fantastic-lady-day. Despite whatever potential damage I might do to my Hugh Hefner fantasies, I headed for the bar and bravely assaulted through the brunch fodder of messenger bags “Malory Archer” doppelgangers.
I navigated my path to the bar through crystal-adorned lighting … like an ancient sailor might use the stars. Procuring the only empty seat, I saw a familiar look of befuddlement in the gentleman next to me. We were obviously cut of similar cloth—mostly off-brand flannel and hardware-store denim. Like a SEAL Team 6 commando of alcohol, I felt the need to reassuringly grab his shoulder and say, “Don’t worry, son … we’re going to get you out of here.” (The poor soul had obviously been lured in here by some elaborate female ruse.)
Listed on the drink menu were things like the Pink Buffalo, Bees Knees, Porter Cinnamon Float and it became more apparent that I was going to have to reach into my jacket for my emergency can of Schlitz. Just as I was about to exclaim, “What you people are doing to alcohol is a hate crime. I bid you all a good day,” I spotted the “Old Fashioned” on the menu and decided to give it a try. I have to say it was a solid if not downright good. I moved on to the Tom Collins, which was equally pleasant, and decided to wrap up with a savory Bloody Mary, made from their house mix, which struck a nice balance of spice.
Maybe it was the influence of cocktail number three but I decided that the Bramble definitely has a place downtown and a demographic niche to serve. It’s a hip yet classy place that would be the perfect setting for a ladies’ group to brunch and would even serve business entertainment quite well. Is it a place to meet for a beer after a hockey game? Probably not, but if you want to expand your drinking horizons without pulling an all-nighter, it’s definitely worth the trip downtown provided you get there before 2pm.
In search of: A spot to host a business lunch
While Bramble might not come to mind when determining a space for a lunch (or breakfast) meeting, it’s a pretty good fit for doing just that.
Upon entering, I was greeted promptly by the very friendly hostess. The restaurant wasn’t full at the time, so I was able to pick the place where I wanted to sit. Although Bramble doesn’t have private dining, I chose to sit by the partition dividing the dining room from the bar area. This area afforded the privacy that might be beneficial while dining with a potential client.
Bramble doesn’t take reservations for lunch; however, if a private room for a business dinner is needed, private events can be scheduled for evenings.
The menu mainly consists of breakfast options, which is good for diners on a low-carb diet. At the time I visited Bramble, I was adhering to the Whole30 program. The server was able to answer every question I had and was very accommodating. In addition to the breakfast items, the menu includes four lunch items along with a lunch special each day. The server made a couple suggestions and also told me that the kitchen would make me whatever I wanted. My food arrived just as I requested and in a timely manner.
The acoustics of the restaurant make for a somewhat loud environment, and if the music is turned up too much, it could be too distracting to conduct a meeting. Bramble has good food and is accommodating to diners with special dietary needs and can provide adequate space for a business meeting. My server was nice and efficient, but didn’t check on me so often that she would be interrupting an important conversation. I would definitely bring a client to Bramble for a business meeting.