We're pleased to bring you an exciting week of Build-Outs here on Sprudge, as our roving summer feature series has taken us to new cafes around the globe, from Chicago to Singapore to Seoul. We're landing today in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma home to a new coffee destination called Rattlesnake Cafe.
As told to Sprudge by Robert Stuart.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
We are a human-owned and operated company in Northeast Oklahoma. Our first cafe, Chimera Tulsa, opened in 2013 as a multi-roaster cafe featuring roasters from around the US. Our menu specializes in plant-based foodstuffs and features breakfast tacos named after Sonic Youth songs (we got the thumbs up from the band after Lee Ranaldo came through Tulsa with his solo project in 2019). After consulting with a few of our long-time wholesale partners we decided to start roasting for ourselves in mid-2019 with the plan to open up a new cafe shortly thereafter. Our main goal has always been to provide a sustainable community space that promotes a healthy, progressive lifestyle while being approachable to all walks of life. There is nothing that brings us more pleasure than being able to transport other humans from their day-to-day into a land of art, cappuccinos, and salad!
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Rattlesnake Cafe is the name of the second location and it shares a space with the roastery, Lioness Coffee Roaster. We also share our space with Spoke House Bicycles and a co-working space in a building built in 1907. Zach Pfaff, owner of Spoke House, purchased the building a few years back and helped us with the shell buildout. He added beautiful windows, a sunken patio space, and two floor-to-ceiling glass entryways. It's an awesome juxtaposition of modern design in a traditional small-town “Main Street” structure. We believe in creating a welcoming space while challenging the notions of typical seating layout and bar design. The idea is to create as much sensory stimulation as possible using simple, approachable materials. We have a combination of community seating as well as little nooks so you can get tucked away. All the furniture throughout the cafe and ceramics used on bar were handmade locally. Our design team, West of Death, has used some of our brand iconography for some gorgeous permanent pieces but we utilize the rest of the wall space for a rotating gallery.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We have always treated coffee as a community builder. From the time when we were sending letters to other roasters via snail mail asking for samples to the present when we are sending email inquires to farms throughout the coffee belt, we want to build relationships. Now as a roaster we seek coffees being produced in line with our values. Lioness sources coffee that we believe are providing the most benefit to the farmer, have an aspect of giving back to the community in which it was produced and pushes the traditional boundaries in processing. Ultimately our goal is to bring the most pleasurable experience to our clients in the cafes with a product we can stand behind. We have been having a blast building blends for our Artist Collaboration series with some of the wildest coffees we can find. A little Intrinsic Cherry Panama mixed with some Natural Bali to set the mood for a productive day in the studio or maybe a “Cherry Vanilla Cola” note kicked up with a Natural Purple Caturra from Colombia…
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Our roaster is a matte black and chrome 12kilo built to our specs by US Roaster Corp in Oklahoma City, which is just a short drive down the highway. On bar, we went with a two-group Synesso S200 in white. Its brutalist design and simple functionality fit the ethos of this shop perfectly. A Mahlkönig EK43 and Curtis G4, all white, brewer keep all our brews coming clean n' crisp. For cold brew with have a Kyoto tower for special reserve brew and recently scored a 20-gallon stainless steel vat from Toddy.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We eat as many plants as possible.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We opened our doors last October but the pandemic has still overshadowed a “Grand Opening.” The plan is to throw a street fest to celebrate as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
All of the brand design work is created by A. Nigh Herndon of West of Death. The furniture was built by Jake Fowler Design with help from his loyal pack of woodworkers. Henry Bennet threw all the ceramics used on bar and has also filled our retail shelves with unique pieces since we opened to the public. Shane Hood of W Design drew the cafe based on our mutual admiration for the “Dunescape” installation at MoMA PS1.