Tulsa, Oklahoma’s favorite high-end coffee and cocktail spot heads for Prospect Park.
The most important companies Gaberino owns for our purposes are Hodges Bend, a restaurant, bar and high-end coffee spot, and Topeca Coffee, a third-wave importer, coffee-shop, and roaster that grew out of Gaberino’s wife’s family coffee estate in El Salvador.
Turns out that the developer behind the ritzy new apartments at 2700 University (near 280 and Prospect Park) does business in Tulsa and became a big fan of Hodges Bend, and thus convinced Gaberino and his crew to open a second location up here. What’s in it for you, Minnesota? Many things!
Expect Topeca to be on par with our top-flight third-wave-roaster shops like Dogwood and Spyhouse, I’m told, with both grab-and-go fast-coffees for the commuter set, and single-estate pour-overs for those who want them. Coffee fanatics, please poke around the Topeca website, and feast your eyes on the classes and other fine elements that will wake up University Avenue this winter.
I’m told the Hodges Bend in Tulsa has some 750 spirits, and guess what? Gaberino and other Hodges Bend principals are also the owners behind Tulsa’s tiki-bar Saturn Room, so they know a few things about making booze cool. Expect a global wine list with by-the-glass options from $7, and 30-odd beers in cans and bottles and another half a dozen or so on tap.
And breakfast tacos:
If the fancy coffee and fancy cocktails make you think the food will be fancy-schmancy—guess again! I also talked to chef Ian Van Anglen from Hodges Bend, and he told me to expect breakfast burritos and tacos, both vegetarian and meaty with options like carnitas, as well as their signature flat-top burger with house-made bacon and an optional fried egg. We totally need better breakfast burritos up in here, so this is good news. The way Hodges Bend works, I am told, is that you can either sit at a table where a server will bring you your coffee and breakfast burrito, or you can just order at the coffee counter to go. The current plan is that breakfast will be served all day, and around three or four o’clock a dinner menu with burgers, seasonal poutine, and some other things will roll out.
But it’s your living room:
The most important thing to know about Hodges Bend, Gamberino told me, is that they take food, drinks, and coffee seriously, but their top priority is to be a casual and friendly neighborhood spot. “We were one of the first family-owned seed-to-cup coffee companies,” Gamberino told me. “But I really fell in love with restaurant culture in New Orleans,” where Gamberino went to college and met his wife. “That feeling of a place that’s a big part of the life of the neighborhood, morning and night, that’s what made Hodges Bend my true love out of all my projects. We debated having a totally different name, but I wanted to keep what’s important about Hodges Bend. A lot of time a coffee or a cocktail place can be over-the-top, in terms of the theme, or the seriousness, but we’re the local living room. The place you feel like you’re at home. It’s not a place you think of going, it’s just your neighborhood living room.”
A living room with breakfast tacos! That sounds very good indeed. Welcome, Tulsa! We hope you like it here. And since you’re opening in January, some friendly advice from your new neighbors: You really can’t have too many winter boots.