Cheever’s Cafe: love at first bite

by | January 27, 2008 | 27 Comments

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Cheever's Cafe

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2409 N. Hudson Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
405-525-7007
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The very first time I dined at Cheever’s Cafe, I knew I had found something special. I had just moved back to Oklahoma City and found a home in one of our great historical neighborhoods. Cheever’s was literally just a few blocks away, yet I never tried it until one day, I was invited to a lunch meeting there. After stepping inside and getting my first taste, I was hooked. Cheever’s really delivers on everything I love about local dining.

Cheever’s Cafe in Oklahoma City

The atmosphere is lively and sophisticated. Located in an old building that’s been revitalized, but not overly polished, Cheever’s offers that “old turned new” environment that I love so much (which is why I bought a 90 year old house). Artwork from local artists adorns the walls and is rotated often.

I really love Cheever’s at lunch (Monday through Friday only). They offer a lunch menu that, in my opinion, is actually more comprehensive than their dinner selection. Plus, at lunch you can experience Cheever’s for quite a bit less cash than in the evening. The crowd pours in from the capital district and surrounding downtown locations. The atmosphere is energetic and business-casual and provides a real feel for city dining and a great place for your power lunch or lunch meeting.

The first time I went, I selected the seafood tamales ($11.95), and I have to say, that was an excellent choice. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since. It features huge chunks of seafood including lobster, fish, shrimp and scallops in a semi-spicy, cream-based sauce, poured over a sweet-potato masa tamal and served with cilantro rice. This type of creative variation on standard dishes pervades the menu. Each item offers an element of flavor that sets it apart from the norm.

Of course, dinner at Cheever’s is a treat as well. At night, the atmosphere turns a great deal more elegant with a less bustling atmosphere. The menu is more selective and a bit more pricey. However, at night I love the larger selection of steaks. I have to say that Cheever’s filet ($31) is perhaps the best I’ve had in the city, rivaling even that at the Red PrimeSteak, which is owned by the same group. Plus, at Cheever’s, you get a more complete meal with two sides included with your steak for a lower cost than you can get at the higher-end Red Prime.

You can review Cheever’s lunch and dinner menus on their website.

Cheever’s also offers a bonus of dinner rolls included with every meal at no cost. This is a nice treat that you don’t find at many restaurants at this level. Plus, the rolls are up to Cheever’s standards as they have a phenomenal combination of herbs that give a very unique flavor. The only problem is that they are so tempting, you have to work hard not eating too many of them before your main meal arrives.

The only negative I can think of about Cheever’s is that in recent months, it seems to me that the level of service has suffered a bit. The first time I went for dinner, we had a phenomenal waiter who really presented the restaurant in its best form. Since that time, though, the wait staff has seemed to me less passionate and concerned. This may be part of why I prefer to go at lunch where it’s a quicker, more efficient experience and the level of service isn’t as much a factor. For a nice long dinner, though, the wait staff can really make or break the experience and I’ve been a bit disappointed in the more recent times I’ve visited.

But even with inconsistent service, Cheever’s still holds it’s place as one of my very favorite restaurants in Oklahoma City. I’ve reviewed all three of the Good Egg offerings on this site — Iron Starr (read review) and Red PrimeSteak (read review) being the other two. I’m very fond of all three, but I have to say that Cheever’s might just be my favorite all around, especially at lunch. I just don’t know anywhere else in the city that you can experience such creativity, flavor, atmosphere, and excellence for the price.

Oh, and of course, Cheever’s serves the very same chocolate cake (my wife’s favorite) offered at Iron Starr. For more on that, see my Iron Starr review.

I highly recommend Cheever’s for a reasonable, lively lunch experience or for a quiet and lovely dinner out. Do you agree? Disagree? Why not leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on Cheever’s.

Cheever's Cafe on Urbanspoon

More Photos from Cheever’s Cafe

Chicken Fried Steak at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma CityShrimp and Grits at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma CityChicken and Waffles at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma CityStrawberries and Cream Cake at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma CityGrilled Ribeye at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma CityJuan's Queso Chihuahua at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma CityExterior of Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma CityRoasted Pecan Ice Cream Ball at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma CitySeafood Tamale at Cheever's Cafe in Oklahoma City

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Sunday, January 27th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Sarah says:
    January 29th, 2008 at 5:52 am   

    I haven’t been to Cheever’s in a couple of years, but at that time, they had the best chicken tortilla soup in town!

  • Andrew says:
    January 30th, 2008 at 8:57 pm   

    I agree, the Steaks at night are fantastic, and rival any steak I’ve had in town. They make an interesting and flavorful tilapia special occasionally with that signature spicy Cheever’s sauce that I love so much. Cheevers is high on my list along with Deep Fork and Mama E’s.

  • Nicole says:
    March 16th, 2008 at 9:28 pm   

    I went to Cheever’s for drinks and appetizers this weekend, and let me say that the 2 apps we selected were amazing! The chicken/pepper jack strudel and the lobster cakes were so delicious that I was bummed that we had other dinner plans! Beware of the Perfect Margarita. I was thinking more along the lines of Charleston’s, but it was a straight up martini that was not very good.

  • Noelle says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 1:10 pm   

    Cheever’s has some of the best food in town, period. You can’t go wrong with ordering anything off their menu. That being said, Cheever’s has a fantastic private dining room perfect for a small-medium sized business lunch. I like to reserve this room occasionally with some colleagues and have a friendly working lunch with good food. Little did I know my reservation for that room would get cancelled without them calling me in advance. My colleagues and I arrive to be squeezed in at a tiny table not suitable for all the laptops and paperwork we brought. Aside from that disappointment, the food continues to stand the test of time.

  • Nathan says:
    July 8th, 2008 at 9:49 am   

    In my top five in OKC. The atmosphere is simple yet elegant, the menu is diverse and very interesting (all of it tastes amazing) and the price is decent. Amazing place to dine.

  • Jennifer says:
    July 19th, 2008 at 1:34 pm   

    Cheever’s has great atmosphere and every morsel of food I’ve ever eaten there is delicious. I only hesitate in going more often because I think some of their prices are a bit high. BUT if you want quality food, Cheevers is a sure thing. Their chocolate pecan ice cream ball is amazing!

  • Tim says:
    July 28th, 2008 at 8:36 pm   

    I went back to Cheever’s last Friday evening. Still love it. It is one of the absolute best in the city for an evening out in my opinion.

    I had the filet with seared green beans and spicy shrimp risotto. Out of this world tasty.

    Also, the small Sharolynn salad is a great starter at just $3.

  • Robert says:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 6:10 pm   

    I’ve used to enjoy Sunday brunch on their patio – not sure if they still have a Sunday brunch. But, the last 2 times I’ve eaten at Cheevers was for dinner. For being an “upscale” restaurant I think the service is lacking. I enjoy the atmosphere, but the food is overpriced. And, while I don’t recall what it was we ordered, they were out of about 4 things we asked for the last time we visited.

    Thank goodness we have some new alternative in OKC – Red Prime, Cafe Do Brasil, & 1492 are three of my favorites.

  • JEFF says:
    October 2nd, 2008 at 11:46 am   

    THE BOMB, THE SOUTHWSET FLAIR THE BEST IN OKC
    THE QUAIL SHORT STACK IN WONDERFUL
    WINE SELECTION OK
    SERVICE OK
    SEATING A LITTE TIGHT
    PARKING STINKS>>SORRY

  • Tom says:
    November 13th, 2008 at 11:31 am   

    I had the pleasure of dining at Cheevers for a birthday dinner and absolutely loved the dinner. I was told to order the chicken fried steak (thought they were crazy) with jalapeno gravy. We arrived somewhat late and the dinner party had already ordered appetizers. I was apprehensive about eating quail, and I’m glad I did, the roasted quail short stack was absolutely amazing. Then the main course came and oh my. Two Chicken Fried Steaks. The flavor and tenderness of the CFS was awesome and the jalepeno gravy was excellant. Now I’m looking forward to going back soon with just me and my wife.

  • Monkeyhead says:
    January 25th, 2009 at 3:22 am   

    This is currently my favorite restaurant in OKC. The tortilla crusted fish (forget which kind) is so good it makes me dizzy. Good prices, nice staff. Quite worth the little extra you pay. Highly recommend this restaurant.

  • philippe garmy says:
    February 28th, 2009 at 11:04 am   

    As a recent Tulsa transplant, Cheevers was a welcoming dining experience. I’ve gone three times in the three weeks I’ve been here. Well prepared, soul satisfying dishes with clever touches and creative nuance have kept me coming back for more. Chef Cally Johnson cooks from the heart with no pretensions, deliver ing a generous cuisine that’s not afraid to be simple and honest in flavor, texture and presentation. Our server, Doug, was a master at treating us like guests and not customers (hint, hint!). The Bar dining section has got great charm, buzz and a friendly, neighbor-like ambiance. All smiles and grins. Am glad to call this place my restaurant home away from home.

  • Bill says:
    March 8th, 2009 at 2:55 pm   

    I have enjoyed Cheevers over the years, and been there twice recently, both times at lunch. A few weeks we went and had an absolutely phenominal lunch. Cally, theit Exec.Chef circulated thru the dining room and was cordial and informative. The food was perfect that day, both the special of the day, and my old stand-by (seafood tamale) ! However……. this past week we were there for lunch again and things were hardly up to the quality I was expecting. My seafood tamale was ‘cold’ and many of the seafood items were undercooked. Needless to say I was disappointed.

    I wish our ‘finer’ restraunts that earn a reputation for quality could devote all their energies to maintaining the quality that got them the reputations they earned.

    I hope my next visit to Cheevers will find them once again back to the standards for excellence that has made them one of OKC’s best !

  • Cally Johnson says:
    April 6th, 2009 at 7:59 pm   

    It is always an honor when someone recognizes a Chefs passion for food. I have had a love affair with food and those who have enjoyed it for a few years as Chef in some of OKC’s best places to eat including Deep Fork Grill, Boulevard Steakhouse as well as Cheevers Cafe. In March, I was relieved of my position as Executive Chef at Cheevers. I too believe that service and food go hand in hand to create a remarkable experience. Thank you for the pleasure of sharing my heart with you through food. I find no greater joy than the opportunity to provide a wonderful memory.

    Cally Johnson

  • Tiger Mike Revere says:
    April 28th, 2009 at 9:06 pm   

    I just had opportunity to dine at Cheever’s, and lucked out by visiting during a slow period when there was hardly anybody in the restaurant. I can’t see where the parking was problematic, as there were plenty of spaces both in their parking lot next door and across the street. I can, however, see where one might want to call for a reservation in the evening, as the food is terrific. I had a small sharolynn salad (the cheese pieces and pine nuts are yummy!), and the tortilla-crusted fresh Alaskan Halibut in risotto with shrimp. If I’ve had a better piece of fish before, I can’t remember when-this dish was absolutely delicious! Erica, the waitperson, was very pleasant and attentive, and kept my ice tea glass full and brought out plenty of those tasty, warm rolls. I would’ve liked to have had some dessert (the Wild Huckleberry Parfait looked intriguing), but I was very full. I definitely look forward to my next visit, and to trying one of their steaks-the challenge will be to leave room for dessert!

  • Kim says:
    May 21st, 2009 at 4:43 pm   

    My husband and I absolutely love Cheevers. It is our special occasion restaurant. The roasted pecan ice cream ball rolled in crushed pecans, red chile, cinnamon, and brown sugar is heaven on earth. We were a little dubious about the red chile in a dessert, but it is delicious. We actually crave this dessert.

  • Kaylee says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 1:48 pm   

    I just had lunch here today and it was great! The rolls are fantastic, and the service was awesome. My party of 2 sat at the bar because it would have been a 15-20 min. wait to get a table. No big deal, we came right at the lunch rush. He had the chicken fried steak which I tried and was fine. I’m not a huge fan and never order it myself, and it tasted similar to all the other ones I have had. BUT…I had the salmon tacos and they were delicious!!! The salmon was crispy on the edges like I like, and they came chock full of yummy veggies like red peppers, red onions, and squash. I would get them again in a heart beat! A little pricey, around $25 for a lunch for 2, but worth it for the option of a meal without anything fried!

  • Sara says:
    July 16th, 2009 at 10:12 am   

    As someone in her twenties who isn’t able to afford this quality of dining often, I have to say I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the friendly staff and atmosphere. The five-spice tilapia dish is possibly my favorite meal of any restaurant in OKC. Love the flavors and it’s healthy, too! Cheever’s is my go-to restaurant for a special night out.

  • Tiger Mike Revere says:
    August 24th, 2009 at 3:24 pm   

    I just love to go to Cheevers in mid-afternoon, when it isn’t crowded. I went last week after work and had a Petit Filet with Green Beans and Potatoes, along with the Sharolynn Salad. Everything was perfectly done, and the waitstaff were courteous and attentive as usual. Brent the bartender is very good at ensuring happy customers! I had the Wild Huckleberry Creme Brulee for dessert, which was absolutely delicious. I’m sure I’d like to be there with a bunch of friends when things are busy and fun, but Cheevers is a very nice place to kick back and relax in the early afternoon, either inside or out on the front patio.

  • Kacy says:
    August 26th, 2010 at 11:27 am   

    I love Good Egg Dining, and have enjoyed the food here. Service has been a bit spotty at times, but the Chihuahua appetizer is fantastic and I really enjoy Cheever’s concept and atmosphere.

  • Jana says:
    September 8th, 2010 at 7:15 am   

    Love this place!

  • Sadie says:
    October 7th, 2010 at 12:15 pm   

    Ate there a few days ago for lunch with a few co-workers. I ordered the chicken fried steak with jalapeno gravy. It was excellent! Ate every single bite of it, and the mashed potatoes that came with. We also ordered every single one of the desserts and passed them around. They were all great as well. Beware of the ice cream dish, (forgot what it’s called) it is enough to feed at least 4 people. Our service was pretty good, although I had to wait a little long for a refill. It was, however, quite busy during lunch. Found it helpful we had made reservations.

  • Michael says:
    October 8th, 2010 at 12:00 pm   

    It’s hard to go wrong with anything on the Cheever’s menu. The Sunday brunch, in my opinion, is one of the best in the city. Such fresh ingredients and creative dishes that cannot be found elsewhere. Definitely a winner from A Good Egg Group.

  • Amanda Smith says:
    December 21st, 2010 at 8:43 am   

    Oh my! Had the Lobster “Mac & Cheese” yesterday and here it is over 24 hours later and I’m still thinking about it and how wonderful it was! Absolutely the best I have ever had. I can’t wait to go back.

  • Christi says:
    December 22nd, 2010 at 7:49 am   

    Enjoyed my second visit to Cheever’s last night with a pal. We didn’t have reservations, and arrived just in time, since they only had one table left. Service? SPOT ON. Friendly, unassuming, efficient…each person we came in contact with added to our evening. The food? WOW. We both had the Ribeye and it has been a long time since I have had a steak so perfectly cooked (medium). Having been raised around cattle with beef always in the freezer, it isn’t often I have a steak “out” that dazzles my palate. I opted for the grilled asparagus instead of the jalepeno au gratin and it was outstanding. For dessert we shared the strawberries and cream cake. The fresh strawberries in this dessert were outstanding. The texture of the toasted coconut (crunchy) was a little off-putting, but added some interest to the dessert. I can’t wait to go back!

  • Pgal says:
    February 10th, 2011 at 10:34 am   

    Yum! We’ve been going to Cheever’s for years. Never had anything I didn’t enjoy. My kids love it too.

  • KC says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 3:37 pm   

    I love trying comfort food with a contemporary twist, and Cheevers does it as well as anybody. Cheevers reminds me of the Wedge where the food isn’t foreign yet distinctive enough to satisfy mature pallets.

    I knew I was going to like this place because of all the cool artwork, our professional/friendly/trendy waitress (who even knew a bunch about pro football – sweet!), and the use of rock-salted-butter with awesome homemade rolls. Of course, the chicken-fried steak is pure goodness and the five-spice tilapia was terrific (need that masa pancake recipe!).

    No need to say it, but I’ll keep coming back to this place for years to come.

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