Tulsa's Blue Rose Cafe To Return

Thursday, March 12th 2009, 4:00 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan and NewsOn6.com

TULSA, OK --  The Blue Rose Café is returning to Tulsa, but this time it will be built on the bank of the Arkansas River.

The River Parks Authority staff recommended to the Authority's board of directors Thursday morning that it negotiate a deal with Swamphouse Partners, LLC.  The company's Senior Managing Member is Tom Dittus, who founded the original Blue Rose Café on Brookside in 1991.

"We're so honored to have been selected," said Tom Dittus, Blue Rose Café.

Tom Dittus says he's excited to get back in the restaurant business and even more excited to get a prime location.

"We're going to bring back the Blue Rose Cafe and put it down on the river," said Tom Dittus, Blue Rose Café.

Dittus closed down the Blue Rose Cafe in Brookside seven years ago.  It was a bar and restaurant with an outdoor patio that was a popular stop.  Now, he wants to build a new restaurant in RiverParks, near the now closed River's Edge building, but further out towards the water.

"But the view of the river is going to be great.  It's going to be beautiful," said Tom Dittus, Blue Rose Café.

The plan for the new Blue Rose is a building that projects over the water.  The architect designed it with lots of windows and a two level deck.  It's designed to work with the changing levels of the river, both now and after new low water dams are built.

The plan calls for the building to have as little impact on the river trails and parks as possible.  Part of the solution is to put much of the parking underneath an on-ramp.  There's room for 100 cars and it wouldn't even be visible from Riverside Drive.

"That's the idea, we'll actually be on piers, you can see them here and you can see we'll nudge out over the patio right there," said Tom Dittus, Blue Rose Café.

Dittus plans for the new restaurant to have a similar menu and entertainment as the old one, hoping to recreate the feel of a Tulsa favorite in one of Tulsa's favorite places.  Dittus says it will take at least a year to open the restaurant.  It will be the first built from the ground up in RiverParks.

Dittus also founded the former Steamroller Blues BBQ restaurant at 18th and Boston, and managed both Eskimo Joe's and Mexico Joe's in Stillwater for thirteen years.

Dittus and his backers beat out Elliot Nelson, the owner of El Guapo's and McNellie's.

The new restaurant will be called the Blue Rose Café at River's Edge, and will be built on the east bank of the river at 19th & Riverside.

Read the proposal.

The restaurant will seat 116 people on the inside and another 100 outside.

Dittus told the board his plans include an outdoor amphitheatre, a bike and bait shop, a dog park and a sand volleyball court.

He also would like to include a "jog up" window where park users could buy water or energy bars without having to go inside the restaurant.

The proposal submitted to the board includes an opening date of September, however no firm date was discussed at Thursday morning's meeting.