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Comfortably Yum

Eclectic with a vintage vibe, Wild Heart Marketplace and Café tosses out fancy menus in favor of tasty and satisfying family recipes ranging from omelets and burgers to hoagies, soups and salads.

Donna Leahey
Marc Rains
July 29, 2017

Wild Heart Marketplace and Cafe is a treasure hidden away just off Historic Route 66 in Catoosa. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the winged heart logo. At the front of the building is the marketplace, a collection of unique and delightfully kitschy merchandise, often with an Oklahoma theme. Try not to get too distracted shopping, because some of the good stuff is waiting in the cafe. 

The only thing more charming and eclectic than Wild Heart itself is its co-founder, Annette Wicker. Wicker opened the Marketplace and Cafe with her parents, Kathy and Greg Campbell, in November 2016. “Don’t let me and mom get bored,” she warns, “because things happen!”

Walking into the cafe feels like walking into grandma’s kitchen. “Eclectic with a hodgepodge and vintage vibe” is how Wicker describes the decor. “We took it into our head to open, and we opened in two weeks, so we used whatever we could find. Some of the booths are from the old Ming Palace.” It’s comforting and welcoming, and that’s before Wicker even starts to feed you.

Wild Heart is a family operation, with plenty of family members working alongside Wicker. “Most recipes are mom’s,” she says. “We’re a Sunday dinner kind of family. There’s Grandma’s mac and cheese, and we make the Alfredo from scratch — you have no idea how much butter we go through. We just have a real love of food. We’re foodies.”

Tuscan Cajun Turkey Sandwich (Photo: Marc Rains)
Tuscan Cajun Turkey Sandwich (Photo: Marc Rains)

Wicker was inspired by the Pecan Porch, a popular Catoosa restaurant that was forced to close last year after a tornado damaged it. “That’s what we wanted. That kind of place with good food, fresh food. Not a lot of fried stuff, soups, salads, burgers, and hoagies,” she says. “So, we opened in November and it’s been fantastic. So much support from the community. This is a great community. So, we name sandwiches after people, like the high school coach.”

Wild Heart serves up breakfast and lunch with daily specials. On Wednesday and Thursday they also offer dinner until 7 p.m.

The breakfast menu offers options from omelets to poached eggs to chicken-fried steak, waffles, French toast, and breakfast sandwiches with a choice of meat, cheese, eggs, and bread. The most popular breakfast items are the omelets. The Wild Heart omelet is loaded with smoked turkey, ham, sausage, American cheese, provolone, white American, cheddar, sweet onions and fresh mushrooms. It’s served with your choice of southern breakfast potatoes or a fruit cup, and your choice of bread. The potatoes are crispy and fluffy and nicely seasoned. 

For a lighter breakfast, the spinach and mushroom grilled onion omelet is a great start to your day. It’s fresh spinach with grilled Vidalia onions, Havarti, Monterey jack, and provolone.

Blue Cheese Angus Steak Burger (Photo: Marc Rains)
Blue Cheese Angus Steak Burger (Photo: Marc Rains)

“The burgers are to die for,” Wicker says with a grin. They’re made with Angus beef and served on a soft brioche bun. For an explosion of taste, try the blue cheese Angus steak burger. It’s two Angus steak patties with a splash of Worcestershire. Nestled between the burgers is a thick layer of creamy blue cheese and provolone. It’s dressed with red onion, lettuce, mustard, and served on a toasted bun. It looks great and gets even better when you bite into it. The sharp blue cheese blends with the meaty burger for a taste sensation that makes you stop and savor. It comes with a choice of sides from soups to chips to side salads.

Wicker’s favorite item is the Tuscan Sub, named for Catoosa high school football coach Aaron Meier. It is another not-to-be-missed treat. Served on crusty French bread, this sandwich is loaded with ham, cotto salami, genoa salami, black olives, onions, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cheddar and other cheeses, and topped with a surprisingly spicy mustard. It’s a sandwich with complex flavors and textures that will satisfy your eyes, taste buds and tummy.

There’s a selection of fresh, delicious salads including the house salad, the Caesar salad, and the roast beef salad, which are all solid choices. The chef salad, though, is hard to beat. Loaded with shaved ham, shaved turkey, hard-boiled eggs, pineapple, topped with croutons and served with a toasted baguette, it’s a delicious choice for a lighter lunch that still satisfies.

The sides are all great, but do consider trying the soups. The chicken tortilla soup is loaded with chicken, cheese, Vidalia onion, fire roasted chilies, and fresh spices. You’ve had tortilla soup before, but this one is special. The potato soup is rich, hearty, creamy, with thin sliced potato, real cream and farm fresh butter, Vidalia onion, garlic, ranch, and four cheeses and finished with a hint of pepper. The chicken noodle is thick with noodles, chicken, and veggies. If you’re lucky enough to be there when broccoli cheddar is the soup of the day, be sure to give it a try. Cheddary and rich, creamy and smooth, with plenty of broccoli to complement the cheese.

On the dinner menu, look for pulled pork. It’s smoked by Wicker’s dad, Greg, and topped with Head Country sauce. The pork melts in your mouth, full of smoke and sauce. Dad’s BBQ is not to be missed. Also on the dinner menu is mom’s chicken Alfredo: tender chunks of white meat chicken, served with two sides and hot bread. You can get it traditionally creamy or spicy.

“We’re all about good food and good service,” says Wicker.

Wild Heart Cafe
501 S. Cherokee St. | Catoosa
Monday-Tuesday: 8 a.m.- 2p.m.
Wednesday-Thursday: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sunday: Closed