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Take Me Out: Cafe 501

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I Ate Oklahoma is brought to you in part by:

This Take Me Out review is brought to you by Citizens Bank of Edmond.

Sorry if you’ve heard this one, but Cafe 501 was one of my spots from waaaaaaay back. Back when it was more a bakery and coffee shop than a restaurant and certainly before Chef Joel Wingate came in and made it (and sister restaurant Sparrow) a must-dine in Edmond. I remember studying for AP exams at 501, tearing bread off this olive branch made of mini baguettes and desperately hoping some U.S. History would find its way into my gray matter. 

I’m so far away from those days that I can’t even imagine what studying is like. How do you force your brain to learn a thing? All I’m capable of anymore is forgetting. (Somehow I can remember every cringe-y thing I ever said to the girls I had crushes on in the 8th grade, but the year of the Stamp Act evades me.)

Pepperoni pizza

And that’s a shame, because sometimes I forget about Cafe 501. I mean, I eat a lot of food, both personally and professionally, and sometimes that’s like erasing and rewriting and erasing and rewriting the same old Betamax tape over and over again—things get lost. 

So I was quite pleased when I saw Cafe 501 (and Sparrow, and Boulevard Steakhouse) are doing curbside takeaway.

The Food

Not all foods travel well, but I have to give it all the way up to Cafe 501, because everything I took home was pretty much immaculate. 

Granted, a pepperoni pizza ($11) is kind of built to go home with you. It’s basically on the prowl at the bar, ready to hop in anybody’s car...not to slut shame pepperoni pizza.

One thing to note: Cafe 501 uses Sparrow’s dough for their pizza crusts, which comes from a sourdough base. My mom, who hates sourdough with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, liked it. So it’s pretty good. 

Cast-iron chicken

(For $4 more, you can get Sparrow’s Crispy Pepperoni Tower pizza. For pepperoni lovers, it’s definitely worth the upcharge.)

It is a limited menu, so some of your favorites might not be available, but the Cast Iron Chicken ($18) is definitely there and thank goodness. What you get are big chunks of red wine and tomato sauce-braised chicken, creamy polenta, and baby spinach. 

This is one I’ve loved for a long, long time and I’m so pleased I got it for my parents last night. The polenta (or grits, as I like to call them) are warm and comforting. Mildly sweet on their own, the polenta eagerly sucks up the flavor of the red wine and tomato sauce, and the chicken just melts. 

Pasta bolognese

Della Terra is my pasta of choice and I was so stoked to see Wingate’s wonderful pasta bolognese ($19) uses their rigatoni. Just look at this. 

The pasta shape is crucial here. The edges catch the meat in the sauce and the ridges hold onto the sauce. Speared with a fork, especially when you catch a piece of fresh basil, this is such a comforting bite of food. 

Bolognese can be boring, but Wingate’s team seasoned this sauce to perfection. It has spice, it has heat, it has an underlying sweetness: I couldn’t stop eating it. So much for leftovers.

Take-and-bake cornflake cookies

If you’re in possession of an oven (brag: I am), I highly recommend getting a half dozen take-and-bake cookies ($10). I opted for the cornflake cookies, which have a similar texture to oatmeal, but with that signature corn sweetness. Ending your meal with a fresh, soft cookie...or six...somehow made an evening of isolating feel more pleasurable and punishing.

Thanks again to Citizens Bank of Edmond for sponsoring this review.

The Details

Cafe 501 Edmond

501 S. Boulevard, in Edmond

(405) 359-1501

Curbside takeout hours Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Facebook - @Cafe501

Twitter - @Cafe501

Insta - @Cafe501

Must Haves

Pepperoni pizza - $11

Cast-iron chicken - $18

Pasta bolognese - $19

Take-and-bake cornflake cookies - $10

Other Features

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.

Comments

The Details

Cafe 501 Edmond

501 S. Boulevard, in Edmond

(405) 359-1501

Curbside takeout hours Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Facebook - @Cafe501

Twitter - @Cafe501

Insta - @Cafe501

Must Haves

Pepperoni pizza - $11

Cast-iron chicken - $18

Pasta bolognese - $19

Take-and-bake cornflake cookies - $10

Other Features

Specials