Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Old Place in a New Place

My sadness about 6 months ago when I heard that the Blue Dome Diner in Tulsa was being forced to close was replaced by happiness last week when I found out that it was going to reopen in a new location.  The Blue Dome was formerly on 2nd St., across from the iconic Blue Dome Station on an old alternate alignment of Route 66 in downtown Tulsa.  I have to say from the start that the diner changed ownership a couple of years ago and has never since equaled its original uniqueness and excellence, but it was still a place where one could get a hearty, tasty breakfast.

It reopened last week in the old Family Diner on Admiral Place (on a different alignment of Route 66 further from downtown) between Harvard and Yale.  Since I always thought that the old Blue Dome had the best breakfasts around, I decided to head for the new location this morning.  The old chef/owner Brian Prewitt is still there, but there weren't any customers when I walked in at 7:30.  Since it had already been open for an hour, I was not feeling optimistic.  The old location was so perfect and the building space was so charming that I knew it would be  hard to duplicate that atmosphere anywhere else.  I was right.  The Family Diner building is nothing to get excited about.  The best I can say is that its a "typical" diner. . . lots of faux leather booths and some stainless tables for larger groups.  It's bright and clean and very diner-like, but really has no ambience.

The same waitress was there, although she didn't remember me because I hadn't been to the other Blue Dome for well over a year.  For some reason which I'm willing to concede may have been concocted only in my own head, the food just didn't measure up to that at the old place.  I had a mushroom and onion omelet, their famous homemade sourdough wheat toast, and a fruit cup.  It was all good, and yet not as good as I remember it.  I didn't have their breakfast specialty, the steel-cut oatmeal with lots of additives like raisins and nuts, but I can only imagine that it is still delicious.  The sourdough bread was still fine, but seemed a little tougher than before.  I do appreciate that they don't slather it with butter, or worse yet margarine, before serving it.  Instead, there are pats of real butter on the table for the customer's use.    The fruit cup had a nice mixture of melons, pineapple and grapes.  The omelet was just ordinary and slightly overdone.  My breakfast cost $8 and change.
  In all honesty, the best part of my experience at the new Blue Dome was eavesdropping on the table of six men who came in shortly after I sat down.  I won't go into what they were talking about because I wouldn't want them to accidentally stumble onto this blog and recognize themselves, but they were a hoot.  They were obviously "regulars" at the old Blue Dome and frequently met there to trade stories.  And wow, what stories!

 I'll go back, of course, but just less enthusiastically than before.  They serve breakfast all day and lunch until 3 p.m. and since they've always had some unique fresh foods for those meals,  I'll also go back to try that fare again soon.  I still have great expectations for the midday meal.


Susan Yates said...

Are they still calling the restaurant the Blue Dome Diner miles from the Blue Dome? Do you know how the original BDD space is going to be used? I'm pretty sure Diner's signage is all still in place so obviously no one else has moved in. I hope the new incarnation of the diner manages to achieve traction and starts producing the breakfasts you so fondly remember to provide you (who gets up before the chickens!) with a great brekkie option before you start your long drive to and long day at Afton Station.

Laurel said...

Susan -- I get the feeling that they're going to continue to call it the Family Diner, but the actual menu items most accurately reflect the Blue Dome. It's somewhat confusing, and I probably should have questioned the waitress, but she didn't seem particularly eager to talk, and she had a table full of guys who came in right after I did who needed attention. As far as the old Blue Dome space is concerned, I vaguely remember (without details) that it has been bought(?)or leased (?) by someone who plans to make it into a bar/restaurant rather than a breakky type place. Not sure, however. [Gee, I'm full of non-information this morning. Sorry!]