Brian Hughes never fell out of love with Queenie’s, even though it’s been 20 years since he worked at the Tulsa eatery. So, when the beloved “cross between a deli and a tearoom with great desserts” became available, he quickly became the new owner.
Since 1983, Queenie’s has offered made-from-scratch desserts, breakfast, lunch, takeaway sandwiches, soups and light entrees. Hughes doesn’t plan any changes, other than moving a few hundred feet north to a larger location within Utica Square.
“I understand and am proud of how customers feel a sense of ownership about this place, and we honor what makes Queenie’s what it is – an institution and a landmark – so we’re keeping what makes Queenie’s great,” he says. “Former owner Ruth Young has requested more space from the landlord for years and so we’ll be moving … to a space with more outdoor seating and better flow for carry out and dine in. We’ll have a little more space but will continue what everyone wants with that intimate, close space people love. It should be complete in the first quarter of 2020 and we’re thrilled the landlord could make it a reality.”
The menu stays the same under Hughes leadership, and he admits to a personal favorite – basically any of the hot lunch specials on the board.
“Ruth taught me more about food sensibility than anyone I know,” he says. “It’s an honor to continue the tradition of the specials board – like if it’s a recipe from Central America, we’re going to use the authentic and highest quality ingredients. Same if an Indian dish. Any specials like tuna salad – that has to be the best and responsibly sourced tuna fish there is.”
His other longtime Queenie’s favorite is a sandwich off the hot-top grill.