“I don’t eat vegetables. I hate them.” Not words you’d expect from someone who prides herself on making her restaurant so vegetarian friendly. Kim Dansereau of Picasso Cafe, laughed as she said those words, and followed them up with, “…but the vegetarian community is huge and important”.
Kim earned a degree in finance and began a career in that field. She realized quickly it wasn’t for her. She worked at Deep Fork Grill, an Oklahoma staple for years that recently closed down, as a server. It was when she was there that she realized she really enjoyed the restaurant industry, and that she was good at it. She became the GM at Chica’s Mexican Café, followed by Café Nova, but she and partner Shaun Fiaccone dreamed of opening up there own place.
“The Oklahoma City restaurant scene hadn’t exploded yet. We were looking for a location when we found out Galileos was closing. We didn’t think we had a chance at this location. Several restaurant groups were interested in it, and we were just two waiters from Deep Fork. John Belt took a chance on us.” The late John Belt owned the building where Galileo Bar & Grill once was, as well as many other buildings in the Paseo Arts District. He is considered the biggest contributor to the revitalization of the Paseo Arts District, and wanted to create a district for the local art community.
“The only investors we had were our parents. My dad is a retired contractor, and he did a lot of the work for us. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we had a lot of support. John suggested the name Picasso Cafe, and we were so thankful to have this location that we went with it.”
Kim and her partner wanted to attract everyone when writing the menu. “When I was at Chica’s, I noticed that vegetarians always had to take things off of what they ordered, and I wanted Picasso Cafe to have a separate vegetarian menu. This area is a natural fit for a vegetarian menu. The people that live around here and our clientele want that option.”
Eventually the Oklahoma Vegetarian Society approached Kim about doing a vegetarian dinner on their patio. It was such a success, the monthly vegetarian dinners were born. “You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these dinners”, she said. “You won’t miss the meat. Our chef, Ryan Parrot is amazing.” High praise coming from someone who admits to hating vegetables.
When asked what women inspired her, she thought for a moment and asked, “Am I allowed to say my mom?” Kim went on to describe her mom doing payroll for her dad, and a man at the company that didn’t consider women equal to men. “He thought, the women’s place is this…”. Kim’s mom told her to remind him that a woman signed his paycheck. “My mom believes that women can do anything men can do, and that’s where I got my outlook on life”, she said.
Kim’s favorite dishes at Picasso Cafe are the Ahi Tuna Appetizer and the Airline Chicken. Her vegetarian faves are the veggie Frito Chili Pie and the vegan Indian Taco. (Maybe she likes vegetables a little bit.)
Picasso Cafe doesn’t want to be the place where a regular comes in once a month because their prices are high. They want regulars that come a couple of times a week. “We embraced the community here, but have also been able to draw from the surrounding communities. A part of being in the Paseo District, or any District, is embracing it.”
> Picasso Café, 3009 Paseo, Oklahoma City