NORMAN — The aroma of cooking wafts out to the parking lot. Inside, pots clang and patrons chatter while waiting for their food. Meet Café 77, Noble’s new restaurant at 501 E. Maguire Rd.
Owners Robin Stead, Tim Robinson and Robert Owens are serving up daily buffets and a salad bar as well as burgers, hot crunchy fries, club sandwiches, grilled chicken breast and a few Mexican dishes. Not to mention home made chips and fried pies and fried fish every Friday — and that’s just for lunch and dinner. There’s the usual fare for breakfast with pancakes and eggs, with the addition of tapatios and huevos rancheros. Appetizers include chips and salsa, zucchini sticks and fried green tomatoes, to name a few.
Owens has been cooking for about 30 years, Stead said. Having worked for a number of different restaurants and even having owned his own, he’s now serving up a variety of foods at Café 77, with a concentration on the buffet offerings that change every day.
“We really have a great crew of people. You gotta have great food and then you gotta have a great staff,” Stead said. “Then it has to feel good and it has to be clean. One thing people have expressed is they’re glad we’re open a little bit later. Our buffet has been really popular.”
The buffet is offered 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a second buffet from 5 to 10 p.m. Seniors are invited 2 to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday to come and enjoy the buffet, including carry-out, for $5.
Dennis and Donna Morrow from Noble visited Café 77 recently and said they enjoyed the food. Donna Morrow said she had the buffet with chicken and potatoes. Dennis Morrow had been there before and said, “I had lunch here about a week ago and it was pretty good then, too. It’s nice to have something at this end of town.”
David Hamilton lives in Lexington but works in Noble. He is also a repeat customer at Café 77. He describes the food as “excellent.” He said he could smell the beef cooking when he got out of his vehicle and he almost had a burger, but since he’s trying to eat healthfully, he headed for the buffet. Judging by his experience and the crowded parking lot, Hamilton said, “This place is going to be popular.”
Café 77 is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A ribbon cutting is set for later this month with door prizes all day. Stead invites the public to attend.
Of opening the restaurant, Owens said, “It’s been busy. A new business takes time.”
“It’s a labor of love — a friend and family effort,” Stead said. “It’s been fun, it’s been a learning experience.”