Beth Lyon's Black Cat
Chef Beth Lyon and her husband, Jay Lyon, have opened Black Cat with an aim to create food meant to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. This restaurant features a mostly plant-based menu, with nostalgic, comforting herbs and spices to complement each dish.
“When your body has to work hard to digest food, that’s energy that it could be using in other places, so when you break it down in a simple way, your body knows what to do with that, that’s the difference between plant-based and vegan to me, eating simple whole foods.”
Black Cat does offer a selection of protein, but manages to do so without supporting factory farming. Animal proteins make a small percentage of the menu and are chosen with care: pasture raised organic chicken, sustainably fished salmon, beef that is grass-fed organic from Strauss Family Farms. The Lyons want to support the generations of farmers that are tending to the land and taking care of the animals.
At Black Cat, food is a self-care ritual. The question indecisive patrons are usually asked at Black Cat is, “how do you feel?” The question seems meant to inspire more intuitive eating.
“What does my body need in this moment? How can I get it fast? That’s what I wanted to do here, we don’t have ticket times, everything is ready to go. When I’m rockin’ and rollin’ I’m constantly roasting vegetables and heating up stew,” Chef Beth explains. “What if we thought about food in terms of how it makes us feel after we eat? What if we thought about cravings in the sense of focusing on what our body really needs?”
So how did this Oklahoma ‘grassroots girl’ arrive at producing a plant-based menu in the land of hamburgers, chicken fried steak, and pizza?
“I’ve been a lot of executive chefs and chef de cuisines, and I would squat in the corner trying to shove a sandwich in my mouth during a 14-hour shift. I would just be a work horse to a ticket machine.”
It was around 2014 that Chef Beth considers to be the time of her awakening.
“I was running around depleted and pouring from an empty cup.” Chef Beth says. “I realized my life needed boundaries, I was like, I can’t work 70 hours a week, with two babies. I realized the state of our community was all about output and I realized when we wrangle that in, [we] realize that it does not serve us.”
Chef Beth knew she wanted to use her training from the Coach House apprenticeship as a classic French chef to invigorate people’s passions for classically nourishing foods, mostly in a vegan and plant-based culture. She’s done so by working at restaurants like Republic, Kitchen 324, The Press, The Mule, Anchor Down, Provisions Kitchen and more to create recipes we all enjoy because they are both delicious and they promote healthier, more plant-based eating.
Through these restaurants and her work, Chef Beth has helped to usher in more awareness around plant-based, vegan, and local food in Oklahoma.
Her hope is that Black Cat helps to take it a step further, to raise the consciousness in our community about how real nourishment can heal you, emotionally, physically, spiritually. “What is this bowl of food? What am I doing when I’m eating it? What is my state of consciousness while I’m eating it and how am I treating myself?”
Intuitive eating and intentional living are just vehicles to help people remember where they came from, to remind them to take a minute to slow down.
“As I shifted into my awakening, I started using plants not only for taste and seasoning in dishes, but using them for their medicinal purposes, as well as using them for ritual spell work.”
Rosemary, for instance, has nostalgic flavors when it’s roasted in vegetables in the fall, often making people think about the holiday season. But it’s also great to eat that time of year because of its antiseptic properties that help fight bacteria and viruses.
“You can use rosemary as a salve, but it also has a very mothering energy and is very grounding,” Chef Beth explains. “Witches call them plant spirits and they can help you in spell work, or in self-care. It brings you back to your grandmother’s kitchen table which coincides with the spiritual.”
So Black Cat serves food with both spiritual and nutritional intent, but it’s also clear that the balance of flavors and techniques in each bowl come from an experienced chef. On the menu, the Heart Bowl helps reset and balance the mind and body by way of a delicious stew of lentils and roasted vegetables topped with a creamy coconut chutney. The Third Eye Open Bowl was created to bring awareness, clarity, and intuition through a light cauliflower rice risotto, Oklahoma mushrooms, roasted vegetables, and flavorful spirulina pesto.
In this on-the-go lifestyle we all lead, it’s nice to know chefs like Beth Lyon are looking out for us. Her menu is friendly, healthy, and delicious. No matter your food allergy, dietary concerns or intention, her menu is ready to serve your needs.
“I want people to come here and see that, I’ve read on and done the research on all my ingredients and they know when they come here, they are taken care of.”
Whether you’re looking to realign your chakras or just wanting to eat something that simply is as good for you as it is good tasting, give Beth and Jay Lyon’s Black Cat a try at The Collective – NW 10th & N Harvey Avenue in the heart of Midtown.