Maxxwell’s Finding Its Place on Rt. 66

Local Dining By BLAKE AUSTYN
Contributing Writer

COMFORT FOOD: Maxxwell’s Restaurant, located at 2626 E. 11th St. in the Campbell Hotel, opened at the end of 2013. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with its menu consisting largely of comfort foods, says Executive Chef Jesse Vasquez.

BLAKE AUSTIN for GTR Newspapers

Maxxwell’s Restaurant, located at 2626 E. 11th St. in the Campbell Hotel, opened at the end of 2013 and is still building a name for itself. Or, rather, rebuilding a name for itself.

“We had some problems after opening, but the restaurant has lots of potential and a lot to offer the community,” says Executive Chef Jesse Vasquez, who started as executive chef of Maxxwell’s about four months ago.

Vasquez was literally raised in the restaurant industry, he says. He grew up in Ada, Okla., where his family owned three restaurants. “By high school, I was basically running the restaurant kitchen,” he says.

After high school and some time spent in the Army, Vasquez lived in Dallas and gained experience working in upscale restaurants and learning how to open a restaurant. He holds a degree in culinary arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and attended Le Cordon Bleu.

The idea behind Maxxwell’s menu is largely comfort foods, he says, with items such as chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and fish and chips.

When Vasquez came to Maxxwell’s, he added his own flavor to many of the menu items, including the Campbell Crab Cakes, which are currently one of the restaurant’s most popular appetizers, along with the Shrimp Cocktail and its larger-than-average-sized shrimp.

On Tuesdays, the restaurant offers half-priced appetizers. “Sometimes people will come in and just keep ordering the crab cakes,” Vasquez says.

I had been wanting to visit the American-style restaurant for a long time largely because every time I would drive by the corner restaurant, the view from the outside always caught my attention. Two of the restaurant’s exterior walls are made up completely of windows, and its numerous light fixtures with dark wood furniture and its long bar create a welcome invitation that beckons those on the outside.

Though, after walking in, I felt slightly disappointed by the interior. The tables, chairs and booths felt old and a little too rustic for my taste. However, after grabbing seats at the bar and receiving help from the attentive bartender, Jared, my friend and I acclimated to the atmosphere.

We chose to start our meal with the crab cakes, upon Jared’s recommendation.
They arrived three on a plate with a side of honey and balsamic syrup and were hearty and flavorful, the sauce adding a sweetness to the cakes. Not much of the sauce is needed, but it adds an extra element to the flavor.

For our entrees, we chose the Smokey Mac ‘n Cheese and the Beer Battered Cod.
The mac ‘n cheese was as gooey and sinful as I expected, with bits of smoked sausage and chicken breast tossed in, proving to be a satisfying dish for a cold night.

The cod, on the other hand, left me wanting. The flavor of the cod could not be much detected over the breading. However, the meal also comes with tarter sauce and cole slaw, which helps the overall flavor.

For dessert, we shared the House Made Cheesecake: “probably one of the most true New York-style cheesecakes I’ve ever had,” Vasquez says.

And I would agree.

After our meal, we were approached by the manager, inquiring about our meal and service received.

Other popular menu items, says Vasquez, include the Rib Eye Steak, hand cut by Vasquez every day, and the Red Snapper.

In addition to Maxxwell’s Tuesday half-priced appetizers, on Mondays, kids eat free, on Saturdays, starting at 5 p.m., 12-ounce prime rib with two sides is served for $28, and on Sundays, burgers and fries are $5, which normally cost between $7 and $11. “That special brings in a lot of families and University of Tulsa students,” says Vasquez.

Vasquez would like to eventually add to the restaurant specials to further encourage traffic, including a once-a-week fresh fish option.

In addition, Vasquez feels there’s much more opportunity to attract the number of people traveling down Route 66, right in front of Maxxwell’s doors.

Currently the restaurant offers a breakfast menu and a separate menu for lunch and dinner.

Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. “although, we will still make breakfast for people who want it after 11,” he says.

Vasquez would like to see the menus transition to a combination breakfast and lunch menu, which would allow breakfast to be officially extended into the afternoon, and a separate dinner menu, with dinner beginning at 5 p.m.

Again, thinking about the Route 66 visitors, “there’s going to be visitors who want breakfast later in the day,” he says.

Maxxwell’s is open seven days a week, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Updated 03-02-2015

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