Salad at Cafe 501 in Oklahoma City

Cafe 501: the restaurant transformer

by | March 23, 2011 | 10 Comments

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2 Locations

  • Cafe 501 - 405-844-1501
    5825 NW Grand Blvd. in Oklahoma City (map)
    Rate It! BadPoorFairGoodGreat (4.00 with 9 votes)
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  • Cafe 501 - 405-359-1501
    501 S. Boulevard in Edmond (map)
    Rate It! BadPoorFairGoodGreat (3.89 with 9 votes)
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Exterior of Cafe 501 in Oklahoma City

Occasionally, the writers of EatAroundOKC have a meal together to both enjoy each other’s company and offer a combined opinion on a restaurant for a review.  When Tim said he was treating this time, Jennifer and I promptly said “name the place!”

He chose Cafe 501. For convenience, we met at the new location at Classen Curve, but the original Cafe 501 can be found in Edmond. Incidently, the original location is connected to Boulevard Steakhouse as it is owned and operated by the same group.

The Classen Curve location sits separately a little south of the main buildings in this development, across from Balliets.  The fact that the parking lot here doesn’t connect to the lots of the rest of the buildings can be a little confusing if you have never been. Additionally, Tim commented that because of the nature of Classen Curve and its uniformity across all it’s shops and restaurants, the location here doesn’t have nearly the character of the original, which feels more like a small cafe as compared to the vast, open feel of this location. Still, the convenience for those of us in Oklahoma City makes the Curve location a likely choice.

The reason I titled this post “The Restaurant Transformer” is because Cafe 501 pulls a unique change-up between their lunch and dinner offerings. At lunch, they offer counter service where the menu is listed on a massive board of soups, sandwiches, pizzas, salads and wraps. At dinner, the Cafe changes completely to a full-service restaurant with table service and a different menu. Plus, on the weekends, they offer breakfast and brunch. We only tried it for lunch, so there’s a lot we didn’t get to see, but you can check out all of their menu options on the Cafe 501 website.

Before I talk about the food, I first want to mention the pricing. I was a little shocked to see our order ring up at over $50 for the three of us for lunch. Granted, we were making an effort to try quite a few different things, but still, you need to be aware that Cafe 501 isn’t cheap eats, even at lunch time. If you work at it, you might get out of there for $10/person plus tax, but it’s more likely to be closer to $15, and the portions aren’t all that big. Again, we’re talking about lunch only. Everything’s different (and even more expensive) at dinner.

So, onto the food. I chose the Greek pizza ($10.99 – see a photo), which sported pepperoni, tomatoes, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, feta cheese, parsley, red onion and house-made pomodoro.  It was delicious, but rather salty, probably because of the olives and cheese.  I had paired it with the 501 salad ($8.99 – see a photo) which was a mix of greens, pumpkin seeds, bleu cheese crumbles, granny smith apples and lemon vinaigrette.  Again, the salt almost overwhelmed me.  I ran through three glasses of iced tea during my meal. However, the presentation on everything was very nice and appealing.

Tim had the Crab Cake Wrap lunch special ($9.99 – see a photo).  The jalapeno cheddar tortilla was filled with crab, romaine, cabbage, tomato caper relish, sprouts and lemon vinaigrette.  It was served with a side of pasta salad, as are all of the wraps. Tim said the wrap was good, with fresh ingredients and interesting flavors. The included remoulade was tangy and tasty. The portion was adequate and probably closer to the portion size we all should actually be eating, but if you’re a big eater, it might leave you wanting a bit more. Overall, he enjoyed it but thought it was overpriced by $1 or $2, even when “on special.”

Jennifer settled on the Southwest Chicken Wrap ($9.99 – see a photo), which contained chicken, jasmine rice, black beans, avocado, tomato, green chiles, poblano pepper, sour cream and cilantro.  The wrap had some nice heat, but to her it wasn’t anything that special for $10. She thought the best thing about the lunch was the little cup of pasta salad that came with it. It was a good amount and a little better than just your run-of-the-mill pasta salad.

For dessert, we all split a Boston Cream Pie cupcake ($2.99 – see a photo) and agreed it was pretty darn good.  Turns out all of their baked goods are prepared in-house and baked onsite. And, unlike many of the other menu items, this was a pretty good value at $2.99 for a delicious, fresh dessert made in-house.

I think I would go back to Cafe 501 when in the area, though the steep pricing might keep me from making it a regular visit. The lighter fare here probably fits my tastes more than Tim’s, and for a quiet lunch spot with healthy, tasty food, I think it delivers. I would also be interested in trying their full-service experience at dinner.  If you’ve been to Cafe 501, please let us know what you think in the comments below.

See more photos from Cafe 501 in our Facebook photo album.

Cafe 501 (Oklahoma City) on UrbanspoonCafe 501 (Edmond) on UrbanspoonCafe 501 Edmond, OK

More Photos from Cafe 501

Cupcakes at Cafe 501 in Oklahoma CityExterior of Cafe 501 Classen Curve in Oklahoma CityFour Season Salmon at Cafe 501 in Oklahoma CityStrawberry Lemonade at Cafe 501 in Oklahoma CityPizza at Cafe 501 Classen Curve in Oklahoma City501 Bread at Cafe 501 in Oklahoma CityBeef and Chicken Skewers at Cafe 501 Classen Curve in Oklahoma CitySalad and Pizza at Cafe 501 Classen Curve in Oklahoma City

This article was posted by Sarah Sutton on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011. It is filed under:

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  • Paula says:
    March 23rd, 2011 at 8:02 am   

    I LOVE Cafe 501! True, it is a little pricey and probably not an every day lunch spot but their 501 Salad is perhaps one of my favorites in town! I love the new location but prefer the Edmond original, I’m just a traditionalist that way :)

  • Alisa says:
    March 23rd, 2011 at 8:44 am   

    I’ve now been to both Cafe 501 locations, once for lunch and once for dinner. I don’t know that I would consider it overpriced, but I definitely think “upscale” would fit. It’s the kind of place that I would go to for a business lunch, a nicer ladies lunch, or when my husband and I want to go out for a nice dinner. So yeah, it’s not cheap, but I thought it was worth the money.

  • Debbie says:
    March 23rd, 2011 at 9:40 am   

    Many years ago when we were still going out to eat dinner (now we only do lunch), my husband & I drove up to Edmond several times for dinner at Cafe 501 and enjoyed it. We were happy to see them open a location in Classen Curve & tried it for lunch one Saturday. We were not impressed with lunch. We didn’t know we had to get our own drinks and we didn’t like the fact that cold pasta salad was the only side item available. It was pretty good but was the only thing available. The sandwiches we got were good but nothing very special. I don’t mind paying more for better quality and I prefer smaller portion sizes but we thought they were overpriced for what you get. We probably won’t go back for lunch even though they are conveniently located. Their dinner menu sounds much better and if we ever do go out for dinner again, we will give them a try. We have gotten a few items to go from the bakery – they were good but not wonderful.

  • Clayton says:
    March 23rd, 2011 at 9:51 am   

    No mention of the coyote chicken sandwich??

    I really like their veggie pizza with chicken added to it as well.

  • Ashlee says:
    March 23rd, 2011 at 10:16 am   

    We recently had Sunday brunch at the location on Classen Curve and we were not impressed at all. The food was NOT good. I had the Migas and they had absolutely no flavor, I was so disappointed. Luckily I added a side of the seasoned potatoes or I would have spent $11 on a brunch I did not eat. My bf ordered the Parisian Crapes and while they were better than my flavorless Migas they were sadly not very good and the portions size for $12 was pretty meager. We have no problem with the prices if were getting good food, but we did not at the 501 cafe. It seems to be a pretty popular place but we will not be returning.

  • Shannon says:
    March 23rd, 2011 at 7:04 pm   

    I love 501 Cafe. I have only been to the Edmond Location. The Chocolate Brownies are delcious, and the Tomato Basil Pizza is good too. But my favorite is the Pear Salad.

    I used to get a Coyote Chicken Quesadilla but they no longer have that available.

  • Michele says:
    March 29th, 2011 at 6:48 am   

    I recently ate at the location on Classen Curve for dinner. Great meatloaf!! I will also say that some of the best mashed potatos in OKC (I am wondering when the trend of leaving the skins on will go away-very unappetizing). I finished my meal with creme brulee. I thought the meal was worth the price, especially since I had left overs for a complete second meal the following day. Will be back.

  • Karen Hobrecht says:
    July 26th, 2012 at 3:02 pm   

    We always eat at 50l when we come home to OKC, from Houston. We had dinner with friends Wednesday evening, and I had Salmon, which was wonderful, I would like to know what the side dish was…I think it was some kind of rice.
    We were celebrating to Majama’s 13th Anniversary.

  • Bri says:
    May 30th, 2013 at 9:51 am   

    We had one good experience there and then one terrible experience. As in, waited for over 40 minutes, was told our order never made it to the kitchen but was being taken care of, waited another 20 minutes and got up and walked out terrible. I don’t give places another chance after that.

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Awesome site. I love reading about good places to eat in OKC.

Benjamin, sent by email