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“It’s always my goal to change people’s ideas about what vegan food is,” he said. “It can be filling and satisfying.”

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Patrick Clark prepares a meal at the Red Cup in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 14, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Patrick Clark prepares a meal at the Red Cup in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 14, 2015.

Chef Patrick Clark’s multi-course prix fixe vegan dinners slowly and steadily grew in popularity. Eventually, The Red Cup Supper Club became so regarded that new customers became locked out of the experience.

“Before the Aug. 14th dinner, we had already sold out October,” Clark said. “That’s three months ahead that new people couldn’t get in.”

Veganism and wealth are not synonymous, he said. At $65 a seat, the seasonal, locally sourced Red Cup Supper Club was already priced beyond the range of many Red Cup restaurant regulars.

Instead, the suppers developed their own set of regulars. With a scant 25 seats for the 2.5-hour meals, there were just a handful of places for new diners each month.

His solution is elegant in its simplicity: shorter, cheaper meals with a second service. Christened The Green Plate at Red Cup, the new dinner series begins 6:30-10 p.m. Oct. 6.

Refinement

If Supper Club meals were a time for experimentation, The Green Plate is an opportunity to further refine Clark’s recipes.

Each $36 meal includes three courses that focus on making dishes from previous dinners even better, he said.

What hasn’t changed is Clark’s commitment to plant-based foods.

“It’s always my goal to change people’s ideas about what vegan food is,” he said. “It can be filling and satisfying.”

Working at The Red Cup, 3122 N. Classen Blvd., he has heard many customers who come in for coffee say, “Do you want to eat here or go grab some real food?”

Patrick Clark prepares a meal at the Red Cup in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 14, 2015. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Patrick Clark prepares a meal at the Red Cup in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 14, 2015.

His recipes aim to overturn misconceptions about vegan food, making completely plant-based burgers, chorizo and sausages that taste great to everyone, including meat eaters.

That’s evident on Red Cup’s daily menu with its hearty, meatless dishes of vegetarian Frito chili pie, red beans and rice and veggie burgers, but Clark is also dedicated to raising the bar for vegan cuisine in Oklahoma City.

While he respects the work 105 Degrees did as a vegan trailblazer in the metro, he said it had a deleterious effect on the image of vegan food in a largely omnivorous city.

“It’s assaulting to a bunch of meat eaters who went in there for a meal and got a plate of soggy nachos and then left hungry,” he said.

Few people realize The Red Cup was not always a vegetarian establishment because it has built a reputation on solid, affordable comfort food that just happens to not use meat in the last six years.

Reinvention

Clark said the market has changed. More and more restaurants are offering vegetarian and vegan options, including The Loaded Bowl food truck, which is working to open a brick-and-mortar location.

The time is ripe for someone to introduce higher-end vegetarian and vegan fare.

That’s part of the purpose of The Green Plate, Clark said. In addition to feeding diners, the meals will help him hone previous menus and make the best versions of those dishes.

“Vegan food can be really affordable and really filling on a budget,” he added.

With any luck, Clark said he hopes to see the new restaurant opened within the two years.

That might not be true for Red Cup Supper Club dinners, though. The time-intensive dinners are a labor of love, but they’re still a labor. Clark hopes to continue the event through next February, but they might be pre-empted by more Green Plate meals. If they prove popular, they could become a biweekly event.

He thinks the shorter Green Plate dinners will be a great opportunity for more people to experience the food, especially with a variety of start times ranging from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In the meantime, he’s also updating the menu at The Red Cup.

While some menu items are too popular to phase out, Clark hopes to add additional variety to the coffee shop and eatery’s offerings.

Print headline: Green pastures, Chef Patrick Clark looks ahead to his next restaurant with The Green Plate at Red Cup. 

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