NOTE: We are delaying this week’s National Register feature to bring you an entry on a new business in a historic building. If you find this entry interesting, stay tuned; our next National Register article involves coffee, too.
A new addition to Tulsa’s independent coffeehouse scene opened last week at 1001 S. Main.
Foolish Things Coffee Company has a twofold purpose, said Justin Carpenter, who co-owns the business with his wife, Katie.
Its first goal is to foster a sense of community among its patrons.
“People my age are really good at building synthetic relationships” through online social media, Carpenter said. “What we’re trying to do is restore that ability to communicate on a face-to-face level through the foolish means of a cup of coffee.”
Foolish Things’ logo — an image of the famous Cheshire cat grinning as he vanishes — is a statement on modern society, Carpenter said.
“Our society is disembodied. We are losing the ability to communicate on a face-to-face level. When you lose that ability, it turns into an ‘us-versus-them’ mentality,” he said.
With locally roasted coffee (Foolish Things serves Topeca); furniture deliberately arranged to encourage interaction among patrons; and plans for exhibits and activities promoting local artists and musicians, the Carpenters are setting out to restore direct interaction and a stronger sense of community.
Foolish Things’ second purpose is to “elevate coffee” by educating the public about its finer points, Carpenter said. Questions are encouraged, and a framed poster explains various types of coffee and their preparation methods.
“People still classify coffee in the same way that they do orange juice, as opposed to, say, Scotch or fine wine,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is walk that fine line of, ‘OK, we’re going to serve the best product available, but we’re going to make it accessible.’ … Our niche is we’re going to serve the best product we can get, without the attitude, and we want you to say, objectively, ‘This is a slamming cup of coffee.’”
Foolish Things is located on historic Route 66 between Main and Boston. Below are then-and-now shots of the neighborhood from 1953 and today. The older image reveals that the Foolish Things building once housed a Rexall drugstore.
Carpenter said guests at The Campbell Hotel can show their room keys to receive a 15 percent discount at Foolish Things. Current hours are 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Foolish Things is one of at least a dozen independent coffeehouses in Tulsa; two more are slated to open this fall. What better way to enjoy a cool autumn weekend than to book a room at The Campbell Hotel and spend a couple of days exploring Tulsa’s thriving coffee culture? For reservations, call (918) 744-5500 or visit www.thecampbellhotel.com.